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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April 2004, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
East and West target gold
Mi-Jin Yun won three gold medals for South Korea in Sydney.
South Korea's triple gold medal winner Mi-Jin Yun trains in Athens
The earliest records of archery date back as far as the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago, when it was used for hunting and warfare.

Many ancient cultures regarded archery as an art, much like music or poetry, and it figures repeatedly in Roman and Greek mythology.

It was also used by Native Americans and throughout Asia, as well as by Attila the Hun in his conquest of much of Europe and Asia.

In time, archery became a popular leisure pursuit and England's King Henry VIII founded the first club - the Brotherhood of St. George - in 1537.

The first recorded contest of recent times was in London in 1583, and the first international competition was held between English and French archers in 1900.

It was in the same year that archery became an Olympic sport, featuring every year until 1920, with the exception of Stockholm in 1912.

The era was dominated by Belgium's Hubert van Innis who won a record six golds and three silvers before bowing out in Antwerp in 1920 at the age of 54.

However, that was positvely youthful compared to early medallists in one of the Olympic programme's least physically demanding events.

Reverand Galen Spencer won gold in the team event for the USA in 1904 in a squad that included a 63 year old who had fought in the American Civil War.

Four years later former Wimbledon singles champion Lottie Dod won a silver for Great Britain.

The International Archery Federation (Fita) was founded in 1931 at Lvov in the Ukraine, with the first World Championship held in the same year.

Archer Neroli Fairhall from New Zealand was the first paraplegic to compete at the Olympics in 1984. She finished 35th.
John Williams and Doreen Wilber of the USA took gold when archery was re-introduced to the Olympic Games in 1972.

A team competition was added to the medal programme in Seoul in 1988, with host nation South Korea claiming both the men's and women's gold medals.

The host nations dominated at the early Olympics, but since 1972 it has been the USA and South Korea who have proved the most powerful nations, with the Korean women equalling their 1988 clean sweep of titles four years ago.

MEDAL TABLE (Top five)
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Men (since 1900)
Belgium 10 6 3 19
USA 9 6 5 20
France 6 10 6 22
South Korea 2 3 1 6
Great Britain 1 1 3 5
Women (since 1980)
South Korea 9 3 3 15
USA 4 2 3 9
Soviet Union 1 2 4 7
Great Britain 1 1 1 7
China 0 3 0 3

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