By Taylor Walston
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the International Olympic Committee in March to postpone Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games, the fourth time in history the games were postponed or canceled. World War I canceled the 1916 Games, and World War II canceled the 1940 and 1944 games.
The postponement caused concern for athletes and spectators. Olympic hopefuls wondered if and when the games would be rescheduled, and how the postponement affects those still hoping to qualify.
The IOC announced the Tokyo Games will open July 23, 2021, and conclude Aug. 8, 2021, a year after their original schedule. The archery competition will begin July 24, 2021, and conclude Aug. 1, 2021. The Paralympic Games have also been rescheduled and will begin Aug. 24, 2021, and conclude Sept. 5, 2021. The archery competition will begin Aug. 28, 2021, and conclude Sept. 5, 2021.
Athletes craft their workout regimens so they’re in peak condition during the games. Postponing the event by a year helps athletes prepare more efficiently by letting them restart their training program instead of prolonging it.
The new deadline for athletes to shoot minimum qualifying scores is June 28, 2021, for the Olympic Games and July 15, 2021, for the Paralympic Games. Final entries are due July 5, 2021, for the Olympic Games and Aug. 2, 2021, for the Paralympic Games. Countries that have already secured their Olympic quota for the 2020 Olympics retain their spots.
Each country can receive up to six spots for archery: three for men and three for women. The sport has 128 qualifying positions, split evenly between men and women. Of those spots, 87 are filled, leaving 41 available for rescheduled Olympic hopefuls. The U.S. has earned one men’s individual spot and one women’s individual spot to date.
USA Archery holds a series of qualifying events, the U.S. Olympic Trials – Archery, to nominate archers to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games. USA Archery calculates the total points accumulated in the Trials and nominates the top three male and female archers to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Archers who rank fourth are the alternates. These archers will compete to earn a team spot at the Final Qualification Tournament. If the team does not qualify, the top male archer and top female archer from the Trials will be named to the two individual spots the U.S. has already secured, and the mixed team spot.
The first two events of the U.S. Olympic Trials – Archery have already been completed. Dates for the remaining two qualifiers have not been confirmed.
The Paralympic archery events have 140 spots, 80 of which were allocated after the 2019 World Archery Para Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, and 13 of which were allocated during other competitions. The remaining 47 spots will be awarded during qualifying tournaments.
International and continental qualification events are on hiatus until 2021. The final qualifying tournament will be held immediately before the Paris stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup, replacing the final qualification tournament that was to be held alongside the last leg of the 2020 Hyundai Archery World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in June. This will be the last chance for the U.S. to earn a full team spot.
The athletes eagerly await returning to competition and training for the Olympics. Likewise, spectators and archers nationwide look forward to watching and participating in tournaments again. Until that happens, enjoy archery by watching online content, practicing at home, and supporting archery shops.