First Olympic Appearance: 1900
by Beth Rowen
Did You Know?
As legend has it, Robin Hood once won an archery contest by splitting the arrow of a competitor with his own arrow. That act is still known as a "Robin Hood."
Historians suggest that people were using a bow and arrow as far back as 25,000 years ago. Where it was once used as a weapon of war, the arrow is now primarily used for hunting and for archery.
Archery was regularly featured as an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1920, but was removed from competition until the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
It takes a keen eye, steady hands and nerves of steel to succeed at archery. Competitors pull back on their bows and fire arrows up to 240 kilometers per hour (about 150 miles per hour) at their targets, which are 70 meters away. The round targets each contain additional concentric circles, which separate the target into ten scoring zones. At ten points, the center zone, or "bullseye" is worth the most points. Archers shoot 12 "ends" (rounds) of six arrows each.
As in past Olympics, the 2012 games will feature four different events: a men's individual competition, a women's individual competition, a men's team competition, and a women's team competition. The archery events will be held at Lord's Cricket Ground in north-west London.