Rio 2016 venue: Sambódromo (Maracanã Zone)
Competition dates: Aug. 6-12
Medal events: 4 (men’s and women’s team and individual)
Olympic introduction: 1900 (Paris, France)


Preview

The U.S. Olympic Archery Team is gearing up for strong performances in Rio. With a full men’s team qualified and one woman’s slot, U.S. archers are aiming to claim podium spots in both individual and team competition. 

Historically, the U.S. has turned in strong performances in team events, finishing with the men’s silver medal at the London 2012 Games. Entering the 2016 Games ranked second in the world (behind Korea), the U.S. men hope to improve on their 2012 finish and claim the team gold medal for the first time since 1996. 

Leading the U.S. men are veterans Brady Ellison, who is making his third Olympic appearance, and Jake Kaminski, who returns for his second Olympic Games. Both will have a shot at improving on their medal haul from London. Earlier this summer, Ellison made history by earning an unprecedented seventh consecutive invitation to the Archery World Cup Final – a strong sign of his podium potential heading into Rio. 

Set to join Ellison at the Archery World Cup Final is newcomer Zach Garrett, who will make his Olympic debut along with Mackenzie Brown, who is the lone American female representing Team USA in archery. Brown, Ellison and Garrett each open Olympic competition with top-five world rankings. 

The archery competition will be held at the Sambódromo (Maracanã Zone), and include both a team and individual competition. The sport has a simple, yet far from easy, objective: to hit the bull’s eye on a target from a distance of 70 meters. A fascinating test of nerve and accuracy, archery requires strong mental focus and precision. The first day of competition on Aug. 6 is an individual ranking round in which each archer shoots 72 arrows. The next day features the team competition, followed by individual medal events on day three.


Athletes To Watch
Mackenzie Brown 
Brown made a big splash on the international scene in 2015. After just missing qualifying for the world championship team, she quickly hit a turning point and collected her first world cup title and world cup team gold medal, while also earning an invitation to the archery world cup final and clinching a bronze medal at the Olympic test event in Rio. Currently ranked fourth in the world, Brown is a strong contender for the Olympic podium.

Brady Ellison
Ellison has been chasing Olympic gold since he made his Olympic debut at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. After finishing the London 2012 Games with a silver medal in team competition, Ellison is back and hungry for more. Quoted as hoping to be the best archer that has ever lived, he recently became the world’s only six-time Archery World Cup finalist and will be a favorite to win gold in Rio. He is a three-time world champion (one outdoor, two indoor) and three-time Pan American champion. Additionally, he is the first recurve archer in history to win three World Cup Final titles (2011-12-14), and holds the record for the longest continuous period as the world No. 1 in men’s recurve, from August 2011-April 2013.

Zach Garrett 
Possibly one of the greatest minds in archery today, Garrett competes with equipment by his own design and was a standout for Team USA throughout the 2015 season. In his first run at the Olympic Games, he aided the U.S. men to the silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, helped the team qualify its Olympic quota spot at the 2015 World Archery Championships, and earned the Longines Prize for Precision as the most precise archer at the world cup in Wroclaw, Poland.

Jake Kaminski 
Kaminski has the motto “I AM” tattooed prominently on his bow and lives by those words. He began archery as a young teenager and quickly switched from compound to recurve with an eye toward making the Olympic Team. After helping the U.S. men to the team silver medal in 2012, he will look to add to his Olympic medal haul in Rio. 


Storylines

  • Mackenzie Brown is all about friends, family, faith and archery. The Texas native grew up shooting archery and began taking the sport seriously in middle school. Now, at just 20 years old, she is poised to break the Korean stronghold on the women’s Olympic archery podium after scoring the bronze medal at the Rio Olympic test event and working her way into the top-five international rankings.
  • Zach Garrett began shooting archery at age 4 when his grandfather made him a bow and arrow out of sticks. He fell in love with the sport and his single mother supported his growing interest by buying him equipment from garage sales and driving him three hours to meet with the closest archery coach available. He finally broke onto the international scene in his first year competing on the world stage in 2015. In the short time since making his debut, he climbed to a top-five world ranking. A self-made archer, he is an inspiration to many young archers across the nation who dream of making the Olympic stage.
  • Brady Ellison recently married Slovenia’s top compound archer, Toja Ellison (nee ńĆerne). The two met on the Archery World Cup circuit and began dating at international events. Ellison proposed after winning the 2016 Indoor Archery World Cup Final in Las Vegas and the two were married in a private ceremony last spring. Quickly recognized as an archery power couple, Ellison is looking stronger than ever in his support system as he returns to the Games with his family in tow.