Welcome to a special Olympic edition of FTW Explains, where we break down the Olympic sports you are curious about, but don’t really understand. We won’t judge. Today we have archery. 

Call out your inner Katniss Everdeen to check out archery. While the sport is everything you learned in summer camp, with archers shooting at fixed targets, it also features technologically advanced bows. Archers shoot arrows 70 meters (about 76.5 yards) and have just 40 seconds to shoot. In the finals? They have 20 seconds. It’s not just about strength and accuracy. Speed and quick thinking plays a large part of archery.

EPA/LUIS EDUARDO NORIEGA

EPA/LUIS EDUARDO NORIEGA

Does it have different events?

While archers can compete with a recurve bow or compound bow in most international competition, the Olympics only feature competition in the recurve. The recurve bow is the more traditional bow, and gets heavier as the archer pulls it back. There will be men’s and women’s individual and team medals handed out. While there is not a mixed gender team event at the moment, archers are pushing for it for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

EPA/YONHAP

EPA/YONHAP

Who is expected to dominate?

At the 2015 world championships, South Korea took the gold in men’s and women’s individual events and men’s team. They won medals in every event in both London and Beijing, so don’t be surprised to see archers like Ki Bo-Bae (pictured above) and Kim Woo-Jin dominate again in Rio.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Who are the notable Americans?

Four Americans will compete in archery. Just one woman, 21-year-old Mackenzie Brown qualified for Rio. She’s nicknamed “The Girl on Fire.” The full men’s team qualifed: Brady Ellison, Zach Garrett, and Jake Kaminski. At the London Olympics, Ellison and Kaminski were on the team that won silver, and Ellison has the strongest credentials of any American archer.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When is it on?

Archery gets an early start in the Olympics. Competition begins on August 5, the same day as the Opening Ceremony, and medals will be awarded on the 6th and 7th and 11th and 12th.

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For The Win
Everything you need to know about archery before the 2016 Olympics
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