The archery competition starts with a preliminary competition, or qualification round on the Opening Ceremony day. Men and Women shoot 72 arrows each, placing in the ranking from first to last. Then, they face each other in competitions by couples depending on the qualification. In other words, the first faces the last, the second against the second last, and so on.
This elimination round makes the loser abandon the competition and the winner advance to the next phase, until two athletes are left to dispute the final round for the gold medal. Losers in the semi-finals compete for the bronze medal.
These matches are decided through an established system: In recurve bow each set has three arrows. The athlete with the highest score in the set – with the total of its three arrows – receives 2 set points. If the athletes are tied, each one receives a set point. The first athlete to reach six set points wins the match. If there is a tie after five sets (with a score of 5-5), each athlete shoots only one arrow. The athlete whose arrow lands closer to the centre of the target wins the match. If both of them get a ten, a new arrow is shot.
In team categories, this system is also used, but, instead of using three arrows, each men’s and women’s team has six arrows, and in mixed teams, four. The first team with five set points wins the match. If there is a tie after four sets (with a score of 4-4), each athlete from each team or from each mixed team shoots only one arrow, alternately. The winner is the team that achieves the top score. If the score is even after that, the victory is given to the team or mixed team that has an arrow closest to the centre of the target.
In compound bow, the competition system is the same as the recurve bow, but the point system is different. Points obtained in each set are added, and the one that accumulates the highest points wins the match. This is applies in all categories.
This competition format generates a series of situations that demand great physical strength and mental fortitude. Before shooting each arrow, archers must calm their heartbeat, increase their concentration and overcome the nerves. The physical and emotional tension inspires some archers to give it their all, while others fight against a relentless pressure.