Olympic archery preview
Archery could be the breakout niche sport of these Olympics, much like curling at every Winter Games. Why?
The medal rounds take place earlier in the day than swimming finals, giving it a window of opportunity to gain attention.
The U.S. is one of 10 countries to have the maximum number of archers -- six -- and should win its first medal(s) since 2000. Of the Americans, Khatuna Lorig picked up the most press this year for her role in
A spokesman for the World Archery Federation compared this rivalry to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Im is Federer, the 26-year-old veteran. Ellison is Nadal, the 23-year-old who surpassed Im for the No. 1 ranking (though maybe Ellison should now be Novak Djokovic). Ellison has won their last four meetings after Im won their first match before the 2008 Olympics.
Kumari may be No. 1, but the fight for women's gold could be between these two countrywomen. Ki is ranked No. 2, while Lee is No. 27. Lee's ranking slid as she fought a shoulder injury, but she is the more experienced, having won individual Olympic silver in 2004. Ki, 24, has yet to win a major event. She'll be under enormous pressure to deliver in London, competing for a country that so closely scrutinizes its sports stars.
Rand Saad Al-Mashhadani is the first Iraqi woman to qualify for Olympic archery. An Iraqi man qualified in 2008 but did not participate. She moved to Bangkok in May for better training, aiming to make the minimum qualifying standard. She did so in June, scoring 619 points when she needed 600. She is ranked No. 270 in the world, but she's slated to go to the Games at age 17.
The Korean women have won every team gold since the event was added to the Olympic program in 1988. They're 11-1 against their closest competitor, China, in major events since 2006. ... Great Britain's coach is Lloyd Brown, who coached the U.S. to individual and team gold in 1996. ... The United States coach is a South Korean, Kisik Lee, who may just have taught Ellison enough to overtake the South Koreans in London.