An activity associated with hunting and warfare dating back to the early years of civilisation, Archery became popular as a sport as of the 16th and 17th centuries, when tournaments were held in England. It first featured at the 1900 Olympic Games, in Paris.
Women started to participate in the sport at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, USA, making archery one of the first sports to involve women in the Olympics.
The sport was part of the Olympic programme in 1908 (London) and 1920 (Antwerp, Belgium), but it was then excluded. It only returned to the Olympic programme at the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany. Well before this, in 1931, the World Archery Federation was established.
Two types of bows are used in archery: the recurve bow, the only type permitted in Olympic competitions, is made of layers, a grip and a string, while compound bows possess a leveraging system capable of achieving greater power with less effort, and are more used in hunting.
Archery is practiced individually and in teams of three. The aim is simple: to get the arrows as close as possible to the centre of the target, which is placed at a distance of 70 metres, and has a diameter of 1.22 metres. Whoever achieves the best performance wins.
When they are fired, arrows can reach speeds of more than 240 kilometres per hour. This means that archers need to have precision in their hands, strong shoulders, muscular flexibility, a good aim and, above all, a cool temper.