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Archery at the 1920 Antwerpen Summer Games

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Host City: Antwerpen, Belgium
Date Started: August 3, 1920
Date Finished: August 5, 1920
Events: 10

Participants: 30 (30 men and 0 women) from 3 countries
Youngest Participant: NED Janus van Merrienboer (25 years, 300 days)
Oldest Participant: FRA Léon Epin (61 years, 278 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): BEL Hubert Van Innis (6 medals)
Most Medals (Country): BEL Belgium (14 medals)


Two types of archery events were contested at the 1920 Olympics – target archery and pole archery. The first is the standard event, used today, in which the archers shot arrows at a target with concentric scoring rings. Most Olympic historical sources have incorrectly termed the target archery events as “moving bird target events,” and the pole archery events as “fixed bird target events.”

Pole archery consisted of shooting at artificial birds placed on cross beams that were suspended from a large pole. Renson and Bijkerk discussed the pole archery events in their article “Archery at the Games of the VIIth Olympiad, Antwerp 1920,” in Journal of Olympic History. They noted that the height of the pole was 31 meters with four cross beams with birds placed on the beams. In the large birds events, “... shooting at higher birds, with the ‘popinjay’ (‘oppergaai’ – ‘oiseau superieur’) counting for five points; the two ‘sidebirds’ (‘zijvogels’ – ‘poules laterales’) counting for four; the two ‘kalvogels’ – ‘canes’ for three; and the eight ‘guetteurs’ for two points.”

Belgium’s Hubert Van Innis starred in 1920 archery, winning four gold and two silver medals, all in target archery events. Van Innis had also competed at the 1900 Olympic Games in archery, and ended his Olympic career with 10 Olympic medals – six gold medals and four silver medals. Archery was not on the Olympic program after 1920, which likely prevented Van Innis from winning more medals, as he competed in the World Championships through the 1930s, and in 1933, at the age of 67, he won a team gold medal at the World Championships