Happy news came from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 7th KST. The first gold medals for the Republic of Korea in the 2016 Rio Olympics were taken by Kim Woo-jin (Cheongju City Hall), Ku Bon-chan (Hyundai Steel Co., Ltd.), and Lee Seung-yoon (Kolon X10Boys) in Men’s Archery.
The team won a great victory over the United States by a score of 6 to 0 (60-57, 58-57, 59-56), erasing the memories of the loss the team faced during the 2012 London Olympics, where it took home bronze medals.
In order to achieve such a victory, the team practiced shooting hundreds of arrows each day, along with various drills focused on strengthening concentration skills and adjusting to lights and noises. Particularly, in order to improve the team’s ability to adjust to lights and noises, the team had to practice in the Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome, with conditions similar to those of the Olympics. These drills became the key to winning the gold medals. Conditions of the dome were nearly identical to those of the Olympics stage in Brazil, where it is currently winter, with short daylight hours, and with applause and noises of the audience being amplified.
After securing the gold medals, Kim Woo-jin was able to ascertain how effective training in the dome was. During an interview after the match, he stated, “the pressure and lights I felt today at the stage were very similar to those of the dome, and I was able to prepare for this match effectively by recalling numerous practice sessions I had done there.” Coach Park Chae-soon of the team stated, “the results they showed today were definitely the best out of all of our training sessions. The team members were able to successfully adapt to the pressure that the audience put on them.”
In fact, utilizing a baseball stadium to practice archery has long been a tradition for the Korean archery teams. Baseball stadiums are capable of simulating various factors, such as the noise and applause that an audience makes, making those ideal locations to practice archery. Chief Manager Moon Hyung-chul chose the Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome, considering that in case of rain, the size of the audience in an open stadium would be relatively small.
The Gocheok Sky Dome is the first dome-shaped stadium ever built in Korea, with a maximum attendance capacity of 25 000. During training, it was heavily crowded by fans waiting for a baseball game. The team went through training while numerous people were watching, a condition similar to that of an actual Olympics match, and thus were able to vastly increase their concentration skills.
Winning the gold medals for the Men’s Archery Team was undoubtedly a combination of the tireless efforts of the team and the coach, and the effective training sessions that vividly simulated the conditions of the actual Olympics stage.