Archery Preview

Before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to 2021, USA Archery had secured one men’s quota spot for the Games, with Brady Ellison winning the gold medal at the world championships, and one women’s quota spot when Ellison and Casey Kaufhold won the mixed team event — new on the Olympic program for Tokyo — at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Following a long break in action, Team USA was able to secure full men’s and women’s teams at the last-chance Olympic qualifier in June 2021. That means Ellison will be joining Jack Williams and 2012 Olympic medalist Jacob Wukie on the men’s team, while Kaufhold will lead the U.S. women’s team with Olympic medalist Mackenzie Brown and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez.

Ellison, the world No. 1, defending world champion and world record holder, had the greatest year of his career in 2019. Healthy after many seasons of differing injuries, Ellison reached the podium at every world cup event, including winning two stages and becoming the first man in history to win five world cup final titles. He additionally won the first U.S. men’s recurve world title since 1985, ending a 34-year drought. Ellison has won team silver at the last two Games in London and Rio, and the individual bronze in Rio. To start 2020, Ellison shot the first ever perfect 900-round score with the Olympic recurve, which he called his greatest accomplishment in archery. 

Williams won team gold at the 2018 World Archery Youth Championships and finished in the top eight at the 2019 world championships, and Wukie, Ellison’s silver medal-winning teammate from London, returns to the Games after a long absence from international competition.

On the women’s side, 17-year-old Casey Kaufhold will make her biggest splash yet on the international scene, having already earned multiple international podium finishes. Rio 2016 Olympian Mackenzie Brown, 26, is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and holds the highest world ranking of any U.S. recurve woman. The 18-year-old Mucina-Fernandez, whose previous international experience consisted of only the 2019 youth world championships, surprised by surging throughout the Olympic Trials process to earn her place on the team.

Updated on June 24, 2021. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

• Three-time Olympic medalist Brady Ellison has been the best archer in the U.S. for well over a decade and Olympic gold is the last piece missing from his resume. Ellison is looking to become the first U.S. archer to win an Olympic gold medal since Justin Huish in 1996. That was also the last year Team USA won a team gold medal.

• At 18, Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez isn’t even the youngest member of the U.S. team, but she carries much less international experience than 17-year-old Casey Kaufhold. Mucino-Fernandez is largely self-taught with her mother as her coach.

• Mixed team is not a new event to international archers, having been contested since the 2011 world championships, but will be new to the Olympic program. The event was added in part to increase gender balance at the Games as one man and one woman team up to compete. Gender equity in the sport is a goal of USA Archery, which offers equal payouts and competition opportunities for men and women. With outstanding female participation in world cups over the last two years, USA Archery was awarded first place for World Archery’s Member Associations and Female Athletes Award. 

 

• Brady Ellison won two of three world cups in 2019, and took bronze at the third — his best year on the circuit since 2011. Ellison ended a 34-year world championship drought for Team USA, winning gold and bringing himself back to a world No. 1 ranking. To start 2020, Ellison scored a Vegas 900 — the first ever perfect indoor score — before the COVID-19 shutdown. Sidelined from competition, Ellison reportedly was breaking world records in practice. Ellison, 32, has competed at more world cup stages and holds more final titles than anyone else in history.

• At just 17 years old, Casey Kaufhold is the young superstar taking the archery world by storm. The youngest archer of her caliber since Denise Parker in 1988, Kaufhold has been shattering national records, including several that stood for decades. She has the highest indoor and outdoor scores of any U.S. archer in history and has started to see international success in the ramp up to Tokyo. Kaufhold set two world records in the Olympic Trials and consistently led the field throughout.

• Jack Williams, 21, ranked as high as ninth in the world during the 2019 season, in which he won a silver medal at the youth world championships. That performance followed a team gold medal at the 2017 youth worlds. Williams finished high school early to pursue his Olympic dreams, forgoing prom, graduation and other teenage milestones to lay it all on the line.

• July 23, 2021: Olympic competition gets underway with the men’s and women’s individual ranking rounds
• July 24, 2021: Full mixed team competition
• July 25, 2021: Full women’s team competition
• July 26, 2021: Full men’s team competition
• July 27, 2021: Men’s and women’s individual eliminations begin
• July 30, 2021: Women’s individual bronze- and gold-medal matches
• July 31, 2021: Men’s individual bronze- and gold-medal matches