Olympics_Archery - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA


The versatile bow and arrow has been used throughout history as both a weapon and an instrument of sport. As the Summer Games in London unfold, archers will enter the competition with high tech bows and the ability to make them perform with excellent results. Today's bows are built with limbs that curve away from the archer and fire off aluminum or carbon graphite arrows with speeds that can easily reach 150 miles per hour. The power, the speed and the accuracy are all critical components of the competition.

But throughout history, archers have found themselves in much bigger arenas with their lives at stake as the competition of war battled around them. Egyptian archers would perch on the back of chariots and surprise unlikely "targets" as they rode through wartime villages. The job of the military archer was to be precise in his shot, which meant years of training. That is why the men of 14th century England were forced by royal decree to practice archery on Sundays and holidays. There wasn't a choice because the country's defense was at stake.

What is the earliest bow discovered by man? History tells us that the Egyptians created the first composite bow around 2800 BC. Constructed of wood, it was tipped with the horns of animals and glued together with animal sinew, the matter that connects muscles to bone. A far cry from the magnificent instruments archers use today, but they served their purpose and enabled hunters to feed, clothe and protect their families.

The 1900 Paris Olympics staged the archery events for the first time in history. Archery only remained on the schedule for the next few Olympics, but returned 50 years later in the 1972 Munich Games. Archery has remained a popular Olympic event ever since.

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