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October 28, 2014

How to Make the US Olympic or Paralympic Archery Team

Do you want to become part of the U.S. Olympic or Paralympic Team? If you're thinking of becoming an Olympian or Paralympian in archery, you already know it will take dedication, a passion for archery and a willingness to work very hard. But how exactly do you qualify? Read on for a detailed overview on how to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Team. 

Note: Team Selection Procedures for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games have not been finalized as of September 10. Therefore, the information in this article is intended for general informational purposes only. 

Olympic Team

First, let's look at how each country qualifies for the Olympic Games. Each country can qualify - at most - 3 places each for the Olympic Games in the men's and women's recurve categories. 

The main qualification tournament is the World Archery Championships the year prior to the Olympic Games. Each county's team who places in the top 8 in the men's and women's recurve team rounds at the World Championships will qualify a full team of 3 men and 3 women for the Olympics. If either team should fail to qualify 3 spots, there are individual spots available (1 per gender) as well as an additional qualifying tournament for teams prior to the Olympic Games.

 The U.S. Olympic Team Trials usually consists of a three-event process that starts about a year before the Olympic Games. The first Trials event is open to anyone who officially registers for the event, is a USA Archery member, and who will be a U.S. citizen by the start of the first trials event.  

The first trials event may consist of a qualification round that will cut the field down to the top 16 men and top 16 women recurve archers.  The top 16 archers in each gender category will shoot against each other archer one time (also called "Round Robin match play") and all archers in the top 16 qualify for the second selection event.

The second Trials event is typically held in the spring of the Olympic year.  It will be the longest event and will cut the field from 16 archers in each division to the top 8 archers.  The top 8 archers from this event will qualify for the third and final event.

The third and final Trials event typically consists of only 8 men and 8 women.  In the past, this Trials event has consisted of a ranking round, head to head elimination rounds, and round robin match play. The total points accumulated from each event will determine the final rankings for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 

If USA Archery has earned 3 Olympic quota slots in each division, the top 3 archers per division will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team. The athlete who is ranked fourth is named the Alternate to the U.S. Olympic Team. If we have only earned 1 quota slot in a division, only the top finisher in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be named to the U.S. Olympic Archery Team.

In addition to their final ranking in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, athletes whose ranking makes them eligible to be on the U.S. Olympic Team must also meet the Minimum Qualification Standards set by World Archery.  The standards for a 72 arrow ranking round at 70 meters are 630 for the men and 600 for the women; these scores must be shot between July 26, 2015 and July 11, 2016 at a USA Archery tournament or sanctioned event.

Paralympic Team

The process to make the U.S. Paralympic Team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is slightly different and has different requirements than the Olympic Team.  First, the athlete will need to have a current World Archery classification that is dated after November 1, 2013.  This will help determine the division in which the athlete is eligible to compete.  Classifications are done a couple of times per year usually before larger Para archery events like Arizona Cup or the Endeavor Games. 

The athlete will also need to shoot a minimum qualification standard score for his or her division between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016 at a USA Archery tournament or sanctioned event.  These are the minimum qualification standards for each division: 

Event

720

Round Score

Men's Individual Compound - W1

575+

Men's Individual Compound Open

630+

Men's Individual Recurve Open

560+

Women's Individual Compound W1

500+

Women's Individual Compound Open

600+

Women's Individual Recurve Open

520+ 

The U.S. Paralympic Team Trials - Archery process for 2016 will likely consist of three selection events.  Two of these selection events may held in conjunction with Para USAT events.  The final selection event will potentially be a standalone event to select the final team members.  The number of Paralympic quota slots per division will be based on Team USA's finishes at the 2015 World Archery Para Championships and 2015 Parapan Am Games.  There will also be a specific Paralympic Qualifying event for slots not earned at those events. 

 The most slots USA Archery can qualify is 3 Open Recurve Men, 3 Open Recurve Women, 3 Open Compound Men, 1 Open Compound Woman, 2 W1 Compound Men, and 1 W1 Compound Woman. (There is a chance for 2 Open Compound Women, and 2 W1 Women depending on results at the 2015 World Championships).

The first selection event will likely be held in conjunction with a Para USAT event.  Athletes placing in the top 8 in each division will be awarded points for their ranking round placement to carry forward for the trials. Athletes can also earn bonus points for shooting the bonus scores listed in the selection procedures.

The second selection event will also likely be held in conjunction with a Para USAT event and the athletes placing in the top 8 in each division will be awarded points for their ranking round placement to carry forward for the trials. Athletes can also earn bonus points for shooting the bonus scores listed in the selection procedures.  

After this event, the points awarded from the first two events for the ranking rounds and ranking round bonus points will be calculated. The cumulative score will cut the archers to the top 8 in each division to advance to the final selection event.

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