Archery and the Summer Olympics – A Brief History of the United States Archery Team

The United States Archery Team (USAT) represents the best of the best when it comes to archery skills in the United States of America. There are both men’s and women’s groups for barebow, recurve, and compound bow archers. 


If an archer wants to make it to the Olympics, their way is through the USAT. Below, we’ve gathered a brief history of the United States Archery team, since it was founded in 1982, to this year’s 2020 Olympics. 


Going far beyond teaching basic skills like learning how to draw a compound bow properly, USAT, and the governing body for U.S. Archery, define their ethos in deeply profound terms.

The Beginning

In the year 1900, archery gained its place among the Summer Olympic games. In 1982, the United States Archery Team (USAT) formed to bring together archers in a way that allowed them to rank archers in their area of expertise. USA Archery is the governing body for USAT.


USAT offers qualifying events series in both indoor and outdoor archery, JOAD (the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program) National Target Championship Events, and for barebow, U.S. Field National Championship events. USAT allows tracking archery skills so that people with Olympic aspirations can understand the competition, and grow their abilities.

Current Day

Today, the U.S. ranks second in the world when it comes to Olympic archery medals, following only South Korea. USAT puts forward events in several different categories, including youth, adult, collegiate, and adaptive archery tournaments, which archers can accrue points at.


JOAD is another program put on by the U.S. Archery group, and that group specializes in children 8-18 years of age. The Junior Olympic Archery Development Program teaches range safety, proper technique, and gives youth who love archery the chance to develop skills with an eye to larger competitions like the Summer Olympic Games.

The U.S. Archery Ethos

USAT’s goal is to demonstrate the behaviors they find valuable while striving to be the best archery nation in the world. Since the founding of this program, they have developed the U.S. Archery Ethos to define those behaviors. They include:


  • Communication
  • Respect, Integrity, and Humility
  • Trust and Standards of Excellence
  • Duty, Legacy and Team Player
  • Engagement and Support
  • Priorities and Follow Through
  • Success

The Ethos of Success, Defined

U.S. Archery measures wins and losses as a team and by how well the athletes represent the ethos they define. It’s not just about winning at all costs, it’s about being a team, learning to communicate, toe the line of the standards of excellence, and learning the duties and legacy of U.S. archers.


Not many sports have this communal drive to create engagement and support for all those involved, counting wins as how well one sticks to the priorities and follow-through required. It’s not about just the trophies; it’s also about being a truly invested member of the community and striving for excellence.


Respect, integrity, and humility aren’t commonly named in many sports’ desirable characteristics. That and the truly universal nature of archery—its adaptive and multi-generational accessibility—make getting involved in archery in the U.S. highly desirable for all family members.


From youth involvement, all the way to adaptive archery, USAT’s ethos is one that anyone would be proud to exemplify. The simple steps of learning communication, feeling part of a team, and at a national level competing on the world stage for bragging rights bring archers a special type of camaraderie in competition.


When it comes to learning to define priorities and do the needed followthrough to get you to where you wish to end up, we can all use some extra support. With an ethos defined as the USAT defines theirs, it appears that U.S. Archery cares as much about developing human beings as much as they are concerned with athletes.


Olympic Hopeful, Or Not

USAT isn’t just the way that you can be made part of the U.S. Olympic Archery Team. They offer archery programs for all age groups, from JOAD for youth to collegiate, adult, and adaptive leagues. They’re also the group that is pushing to keep the sport as highly successful for individuals as it has historically been.


While you don’t have to have Olympic aims when you start out shooting archery, learning about the sport and the desired characteristics of archers is a valuable thing in a world slowly losing touch with teamwork and communication as artforms.


Though there isn’t a lot out there on the history of the USAT, it is just another reminder that U.S. Archery is not an individual sport with laurels for being the best (though, other archers well know the heroes of this sport), it’s a team sport that has developed as such from the regulatory body all the way down to the youth sports group JOAD.


You can view the original article HERE.

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