There was nothing the least bit shaky about South Korean archer Kim Woo-jin’s world-record performance at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
He was in such a rhythm that a wobbly piece of plywood the competitors stood on to shoot failed to even distract him.
Kim set a recurve world record with a score of 700 on Friday during the qualifying round of archery at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. It is the first world record of the 2016 Summer Games, and has come even before the opening ceremony.
A perfect score is 720 as archers shoot a total of 72 arrows. The results of the qualifying round are used determine the seedings for the bracketed tournament next week.
Of Kim’s 72 arrows, 52 were in the 10 ring, which is the highest score. He didn’t have an arrow score below a nine.
Still, the 24-year-old Korean didn’t have time to revel in his feat. There’s a team competition the following day and he had his complete focus on medals, not records.
“Today, it doesn’t feel that important,” Kim said through a translator.
His fellow competitors were impressed enough for him: “Really, really fantastic,” David Pasqualucci of Italy said. “He was perfect. It’s a big incentive for me, to go further, to go higher and higher,” Marcus D’Almeida of Brazil said.
The fact he shot a 700 is amazing,” said Brady Ellison of the United States, who finished second in qualifying with a score of 690. “Should’ve been five or six points higher, too.” In Ellison’s opinion, that’s due to a creaky surface. There was scaffolding on the ground and on top of that was a thin piece of plywood. It tended to shift each time someone moved in the long line of shooters.
“It’s not enough to really, really hurt you, or enough to make a huge complaint about it. But I do believe it cost the whole field a few points,” said Ellison, who combined with teammates Zach Garrett and Jake Kaminski to finish second as a team behind the South Koreans in qualifying. “Kim’s (score) is just really impressive.”
Kim settled into the Sambadrome quite nicely, with the walls making any sort of breeze hardly detectable. There also were newly added Olympic logos on a green backdrop behind the target that gave the archers better depth perception.
And Kim certainly took advantage.
He opened with a 10 and was just warming up.
On his final arrow, he connected on a 10 to beat the previous mark of 699 for 72 arrows set by Im Dong-hyun of South Korea at the 2012 London Games. Dong-hyun is the visually impaired archer whose story made headlines in London. He didn’t make a strong South Korean team for Rio that’s obviously led by Kim.
“I think three years, four years ago, only the compound bow can (score a) 700,” Pasqualucci said, alluding to another form of bow used in other competitions but not at the Olympics. “That’s not correct now. It’s amazing.”
Kim was the overwhelming favorite heading into the Olympics and did nothing to dispel that belief.
“Today was just a ranking,” said Kim, who is a two-time individual world champion. “Tomorrow the match is more important. Want to focus on tomorrow — not really be happy today.”
D’Almeida also is a medal favorite and wound up 34th in qualifying. He insisted the pressure of competing in his backyard doesn’t add extra stress.
“Doesn’t make a difference,” D’Almeida said. “It’s difficult everywhere.”