South Korea's Ki Bo-bae releases her arrow during the women's team archery competition at the Sambadrome venue during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Natacha Pisarenko
August 07, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The South Koreans win the women's Olympic team archery title all the time.

Seriously, all the time - 8 for 8 since the event was added in 1988. A nation can't get much more dominant than that.

Ki Bo-bae, Choi Mi-sun and Chang Hye-jin weren't the least bit bothered by a swirling wind as they led South Korea past Russia 5-1 in the final Sunday at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Taiwan beat Italy in the bronze-medal match.

It was a clean sweep for South Korea, with the men's team turning in a nearly flawless performance Saturday to motivate their counterparts.

''That helped a lot, watching them do well,'' Ki said through a translator. ''To show the idea of how to do well in this place.''

For the Russians, the silver almost felt like a gold and definitely was a medal the contingent of Tuiana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova and Inna Stepanova couldn't even fathom a few months ago when their country's presence in Rio was in limbo.

The International Olympic Committee recently approved the entry of 278 Russian athletes amid several anti-doping groups calling for a complete ban. Overall, more than 100 Russians have been excluded over allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia ahead of the Rio Games.

''Of course, we were very nervous of what's going on with this stuff,'' Dashidorzhieva said. ''But we believed and trained every day - and waited.''

It's the first medal the Russian women have captured in archery. Perova can't wait to show it off to her young daughter.

''I wasn't with her part of the year (because of training). So this victory is for her,'' Perova said. ''I want to go home to see her with this medal.''

There was no slithering around this subject: There were rumors about how the South Korean women's team used to handle snakes as a way to build mental toughness.

Not true, Ki insisted. They're mentally strong enough already.

That's why the howling wind didn't bother them. Never does.

''It's true that the wind was particularly strong. So we were a bit surprised,'' said Ki, who was a member of the winning squad at the 2012 London Games. ''Each one of the team really did great to lead us.''

To get used to different kinds of situations, the team trains in unorthodox ways. Like on a baseball field inside a dome, just to get acclimated to noise.

''But we don't handle snakes,'' Ki reiterated.

Asked how this Olympic gold tasted, each South Korean archer had an amusing take:

- ''It tastes like rainbow candy,'' Chang said.

- ''My mom's soup. Because that's the best,'' Ki responded.

- ''I'm still hungry,'' Choi said.

That's why it was no real surprise the South Koreans added to its title collection at the Sambadrome. It was expected. So are more in the future.

''When it's time for me to sleep, I always think about archery,'' Ki said. ''That is why I can stay on top.''

The real shocker was China being eliminated by Italy in the quarterfinals. South Korea and China met in the final of the last three Olympics before Rio.

South Korea beat Japan and Taiwan before facing Russia in the final. Of the 18 shots, 10 in the top scoring ring despite the blustery day. Ki sealed the win with her final arrow.

''We always do our best,'' Ki said, ''and that's why we always have a good result.''

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