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What is the Olympic Archery Distance?

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Archery has been around for a long time. It started as a hunting activity and now, it is part of the Olympic games. The sport continued to evolve over the years into a highly competitive discipline.

The sport of Archery has one important aspect – the distance. It is essential to understand the Olympic archery distance both for the fans and the archers themselves.

For the fans, it gives a new perspective on what the archers are looking at and the size of the target. On the other hand, archers who fully grasp the distance they are shooting at would be more prepared mentally and physically.

If you’re new here you can learn about the basics of recurve archery in our Recurve Shot Cycle and Recurve Archery Basics guide. Then, you can learn How To Train for Archery and find specific archery drills and exercises in our Drills & Bow Training Library and Archery Exercises Library. You can also find loads of detailed videos on our Online Archery Academy YouTube Channel. And lastly, if you’re interested in private coaching you can read about our online recurve archery coaching.

What is the Olympic archery distance?

The Olympic archery distance is 70 meters or 230 feet. This is the standard distance regulated by the World Archery Federation. This provides equal opportunity to win for all participants.

Back then, archers would compete at several distances called 1440 or FITA round. Male archers would shoot at 90, 70, 50, and 30 meters for men. The women’s Olympic archery distance to the target is 70, 60, 50, and 30 meters.

However, the World Archery Federation has ceased this format in favor of the standard 70-meter distance. This is now the archery distance for the Olympics and the Hyundai World Archery Championships.

To put it into perspective, a Boeing 737 airplane has a wing span of 35.9 meters. Get two 737 airplanes and put them side-by-side, which is the approximate target distance in Olympic recurve archery.

What makes this more impressive is the size of the 10 ring. The diameter of the inner yellow ring is 12 cm or the size of a DVD. 

So next time you are watching an archery match, just imagine how hard it is to hit the X mark with two Boeing 737s between you and the target. Pretty challenging, isn’t it?

Olympic Archery Distance
Fig. 1 The distance of an olympic archery target

How long is the Olympic archery range?

Besides the Olympic archery target distance, range owners and competition venues follow certain guidelines. The standard Olympic archery range is usually set to accommodate 72 archers.

The total size of the archery range varies from 120 – 150 meters. The reason why it is more than the Olympic target distance of 70 meters is to account for safety.

Despite being the best in the world, a malfunction may happen and an archer might miss. The space behind the archery target serves as an allowance for the arrow to travel through.

Moreover, the target range also accounts for the spectator area and coaches area. The Archery officials also have their own space.

The Olympic archery range size and layout are designed to provide a controlled environment. It is better to be on the safe side than to have an unfortunate incident in the range.

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How far can an archer shoot accurately?

The accuracy of archery is affected by several factors such as physical strength, mental fortitude, and equipment. A well-trained archer can shoot a distance of up to 90 meters. Some would even push the limit and go over 100 meters and still shoot accurately.

The Olympic archery distance, or any distance per se, matters since it would affect the equipment choice. However, the accuracy of an archer would rely on their technique, form, and not necessarily the distance.

For spectators, the distance might seem like the biggest factor. In reality, the target is stationary and the archers move on their own so their technique would matter more.

Ultimately, archers can shoot accurately for long distances as long as they are well-trained and they have a solid form and foundation. The only point of failure by then would be equipment such as arrows that are not designed for that distance. This is why properly tuning your equipment before any competition or shoot is necessary to eliminate any room for error.

To reach this level of archery, you need an experienced coach. If you do not have one yet, our 2023 archery coaching program is still available. Join us today for an in-depth and advanced understanding of archery.

Besides having a proper coach, do not forget to check our training and drills to strengthen your archery form.

Talking about accuracy and form, check out this video of Olympic Archery champion, Chang Hye Jin. She shoots smoothly and her shot process is the same all throughout and look at the result.

What is the longest distance in archery?

The longest distance in Olympic recurve archery is 90 meters. However, there are long-distance archery competitions that are not bound by the Olympic rules. Archers participating in these tournaments can shoot from distances up to 100 meters or more. 

This type of competition is made to test an archer’s endurance, strength, and accuracy.

Despite not being an official sport, long-distance archery is enjoyed by many since it shows the versatility and skill of archery differently. It is also practiced by other forms of archery such as crossbows, longbows, and compound bows.

How far did archers shoot in the past?

Archery has been around for thousands of years already. Through time, bows have evolved and have allowed archers to shoot incredible distances.

There is no way to tell the actual distance that an archer has shot in the past, especially during warfare or hunting. Some may say 200 meters while others would consider 50 meters a massive feat already.

Going by modern Olympic archery, archers have shot multiple distances during the FITA or 1440 qualifying rounds. Male archers shoot 90 meters at the furthest while female archers shoot 70 meters in the past.

Let’s sum it up

The Olympic archery distance is 70 meters for both men’s and women’s recurve archery. It is important to understand the competition distance as it helps the participants and the fans appreciate the sport more.

We hope that this article has provided valuable information and would help you in your archery journey.