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S. Korea's Golden Archers: What Makes Them So Strong? Dae Hee Kwak of Univ. Michigan Updated: 2021-08-09 17:17:17 KST

For South Korean archers, winning Olympic gold medals feels almost like a given - they have claimed 23 of the 34 golds awarded in the sport since 1984.
If you count the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, it's 27 of the 39 golds awarded in the sport as Team Korea once again swept the gold medals in the event except for one.
In fact, it's getting TO THE Games that's tough given the competitive nature in the nation.
An San, for instance, successfully navigated the crucible of South Korea’s national team selection tournament, which gathers the country's top 2-hundred archers to vie for six tickets - for three men and three women - to the world's biggest sporting event, with no regard for rankings or past performance.
The 20-year-old ended up re-writing Olympic history in the sport sweeping all three golds up for grabs - the mixed event, women's team, and individual.
So, what makes Korean archers so invincible?
It's the topic of our News In-depth with Dae Hee Kwak, Associate Professor and Director of Center for Sport Marketing Research at the University of Michigan. He joins us live from Ann Arbor.

So, what's the secret behind South Korea's archery success? Do Koreans have some kind of an advantage in their physique or mental state that make them more apt for this particular sport?

Once again, we were able to witness Koreans' extraordinary performance with An San's historic three-gold finish, 17-year-old Kim Je-duk's two golds and their Robin Hood shot.
Korean archers remained unbelievably calm throughout their matches - even evidenced by their heart rates compared to their rivals. How do archers maintain their peace of mind? Is there a special training for that, as well?

The Korean national team is famous in the archery world for the depth and detail of its preparations.
How are their preparations different from that of other national teams?
What sets them apart?

Archery is no football or basketball - in fact, it isn't a popular sport, in general.
But the financial and institutional support of the Korea Archery Association has been outstanding: creating a training environment conducive to success in the Olympics, literally.
How important is such sponsorship?

Corporate patron Hyundai Motors has been highly praised for stringently applying meritocracy, transparency and fairness in national team selection and internal competition. It seems normal that this should be the case in every sport, but apparently it isn't so. Is it difficult to achieve this in sport management in general?

Dae Hee Kwak, Professor of Sports Management at the University of Michigan. Many thanks for your insights.
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