5 facts that prove archery is the most interesting sport at the Olympics

What's your favourite sport at the Olympics? After reading this, it will definitely be archery.

1. It's a graceful game.

An archery target at the  Beijing Olympics.
(Tony Marshall/Empics Sport)

American Lida Howell explained her love of archery after winning three gold medals at the 1904 St Louis Olympics: "Archery is a picturesque game, the range with its smooth green and distant glowing target with its gold and radiating red, blue, black and white, the white-garbed players, with graceful big bows and flying arrows, makes a beautiful picture."

2. Archery could have been accused of slightly over-egging things when it made its Olympic debut in Paris in 1900.

Great Britain's Alison Williamson practices at Lord's Cricket Ground.
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

The archery competition stretched for a total of 44 days from May to August, and consisted of 19 events. Two of these were the so-called "popinjay" events, in which a bird - actually a plastic tube stuck with feathers - was placed on top of a pole and set at varying distances.

3. Although he was never quite good enough to boldly go to the Olympics, William Shatner is an avid archer, and was a founder member of Detroit's famous Fred Bear sporting club.

William Shatner.
(Chris Pizzello/AP)

Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis got even closer. Having only taken up the sport a year earlier, she reached the semi-finals of the 2000 US Olympic trials.

4. Most sporty types would consider five Wimbledon singles titles a decent haul. But domination at the All England Club was not enough for Lottie Dod, who turned to archery and duly won a silver medal at the 1908 Olympics, while her brother William took gold in the men's event.

Charlotte 'Lottie' Dod, ladies' singles champion in 1887.
(Empics Sport)

Dod also won the women's British amateur golf title at Troon in 1904, and regularly completed the Cresta Run.

5. South Korea has long been the dominant force in Olympic archery, boasting 34 medals, 19 of them gold.

South Korea' s from left, Ki Bo-bae, Choi Hyeon-ju, and Lee Sung-jin celebrate their gold medal win over China.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Their success has been put down to a radical training regime designed to "conquer fear", according to women's coach Seo Geo Won. It includes sending their archers bungee jumping and platform diving, as well as holding events in crowded baseball stadiums in order for them to learn to cope in the heat of the moment.

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