Preview: Men’s finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Brady Ellison shoots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

As long as we waited to step into the Olympic arena in Tokyo, as quickly as these competitions have run.

We’ve awarded four gold medals at Yumenoshima Park and just one remains for the taking. The individual men’s gold – the title that has, in the long history of the Games, been arguably the most contested, the most difficult to secure.

Korea has won four of four events in Japan so far.

It won’t be easy to complete the sweep.

Eight talented athletes await their turn on the shooting line, each just three match wins away from Olympic glory.

Key information

What’s happening? Men’s finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 31 July 2021.

What’s at stake? The title of Olympic Champion.

Who’s competing? Only eight of the 64 men that arrived at these Games are still alive. One will be crowned the victor.

What’s the story? Two-time World Archery Champion Kim Woojin and reigning world number one (and world champion) Brady Ellison are on opposite sides of the quarterfinal bracket. It would be a gold medal match for the ages. But their paths to the final are far from certain.

Quarterfinal line-up

Seed provided in brackets.

  • Florian Unruh, Germany (33) versus Mauro Nespoli, Italy (24)
  • Tang Chih-Chun, Chinese Taipei (12) versus Kim Woojin, Korea (4)
  • Takaharu Furukawa, Japan (46) versus Li Jialun, China (11)
  • Mete Gazoz, Turkey (10) versus Brady Ellison, USA (2)

Story so far

If this tournament hasn’t been evidence of the parity at the top of the men’s game, then nothing is.

After Florian Unruh knocked out the top seed, 17-year-old Kim Je Deok, plenty more favourites followed. In this eight-athlete line-up for the quarterfinals, there are only two top qualifiers: Kim Woojin, who seeded fourth, and the second seed, Brady Ellison. They’re on opposite sides of the bracket – and could only end up meeting in the final.

The rest of the remaining field is an exciting one, full of proven winners.

This is genuinely shaping up to be a thrilling end to a fantastic week of competition in Tokyo.

If they win…

Florian Unruh, Germany: …he would become the first German archer to win an Olympic gold in the archery competitions. Germany has never won a men’s medal in this sport at the Games before, either.

Mauro Nespoli, Italy: …he would become Italy’s second individual Olympic Champion after Marco Galiazzo in 2004. A medal here would be his third at the Games. Nespoli already has a team gold from London 2012 and a silver from Beijing 2008.

Tang Chih-Chun, Chinese Taipei: …he would become the first archer from Chinese Taipei to medal in the individual competitions at the Olympics if he finished anywhere on the podium.

Kim Woojin, Korea: …he would become the third – consecutive – individual Olympic Champion from Korea and complete archery’s leading nation’s sweep of the five gold medals at these Games. It would be his third Olympic gold medal, having been a member of the winning men’s team in both Rio and Tokyo.

Takaharu Furukawa, Japan: …he would become the first individual Olympic Champion from 

Li Jialun, China: …he would become the first man from China to win the individual Olympic title. The country has had one previous medallist in the event; Dai Xiaoxiang finished third at London 2012.

Mete Gazoz, Turkey: …he would become Turkey’s first archery medallist at the Olympics. Any spot on the podium would do.

Brady Ellison, USA: …he would become the seventh individual Olympic Champion from the USA, the first since Justin Huish won in Atlanta in 1996 and the fifth man from the States to win the gold. Brady would be collecting his fourth Olympic medal and complete the set, having already won an individual bronze and two team silvers.

Competition format

Athletes are seeded on their qualifying results. The maximum score is 720 points.

They then shoot through head-to-head brackets, in which the winning athlete in each match advances and the loser is eliminated until a champion is crowned.

Individual matches are decided using the set system in which the goal is to accrue six set points. Matches usually last under 15 minutes.

Each match is broken down into sets of three arrows. The archers shoot their arrows alternately with a time limit of 20 seconds per shot.

At the end of each set, the archer with the highest total arrow score in the set is awarded two set points. Both archers receive one set point if the arrow score is tied. The maximum total arrow score in a single set is 30 points.

If the athletes are tied on five set points after five sets, the match is sent to a tiebreak.

Each archer shoots one arrow and the archer whose arrow lands closest to the centre of the target wins the match.