Barebow at the World Games 2017. Pic by Dean Alberga / World Archery.
July has been and gone. Quieter than the World Cup frenzy of May and June, it saw the World Games take place in Wroclaw in Poland, scene of several previous World Cups.
The World Games, if you’ve forgotten, are a multi-sport event every four years designed to provide a platform for sports and disciplines that don’t get contested at the Olympics. It’s often seen as a stepping stone to wider international acceptance, too. The archery meet featured recurve and barebow field events, and a compound target event. A lot of familiar names turned up, but it’s best you read the extremely extensive coverage over at World Archery. Brady Ellison expounded his love of field to Inside The Games after the recurve sessions – but, you know, he said he was probably going back to compound a couple of years ago. 🙂
The biggest Olympics news of all was that the next two countries to host the summer Olympics after Tokyo have been selected, after months of rumours and behind-the-scenes horse trading. It’ll be #Paris2024 and #LosAngeles2028, both hosting the Games for the third time.
You will remember, of course, that Paris will likely be putting the archery competition on at the Esplanade des Invalides in the (relative) centre of the city:
A weird aside: see those two figures in the number one lane? Whoever the artist is, they *seem* to have based them on – and I’m not absolutely sure why or how they got there – a really not-very-good picture of Chang Hyejin and then coach Rye Soo Jung that I took in Wroclaw in 2013. Of all things.
I’m guessing that’s because they’re full length and fairly easy to remove from the background. Photoshop priorities!
This pic shows the Esplanade des Invalides on the right, and on the other side of the bridge, the Grand Palais where they will be holding the fencing and taekwondo. This is excellent news: the archery will be at the very heart of the city and in the centre of the action.
Los Angeles will be building a custom venue – ‘Stadium Lake’ – at the under construction LA Stadium at Hollywood Park. Dean Alberga will have to swim to take pictures. 🙂
2024 and 2028 will probably be the last of the single-city Games, as almost all bids going foward increasingly involve more than one location – and rightly so, as the 21st century Olympics is too much of a burden on the tax base of even a major world city these days. The Olympic s of the the 2030s and on will probably look something like this.
By far my most shared story of the month was about the 35th running of the President’s competition, the biggest annual Korean domestic competition; and it’s most salient, terrifying fact: in the senior recurve division ranking, twenty men and thirty-nine women shot 1350 or above, the mark long considered the definition of world elite. That number doesn’t include a couple of dozen high school students who also made that score.
Most countries in the world have perhaps two or three recurve archers who can shoot 1350 on a regular basis – if that. The sheer strength in depth – and the deep commitment to the full FITA as a mark of quality – isn’t going away any time soon.
Also, for the first time ever, the President’s competition saw a mixed team round shot. Think it’s related to this announcement at all? 🙂 It will also be part of the Asian Games next year in 2018, an event the Korea Archery Association take almost as seriously as the Olympics.
August: the Berlin World Cup will soon be upon us, and in just one month the World Cup Final in Rome. You can check the movers and shakers who’ll likely be at that over here – and frankly, it’s going to look quite a lot like last year in Odense. You can read a little more about Berlin and what’s going to happen in the preview I wrote earlier this year over on Dutch Target. I’m not going to be at this one, unfortunately. Hope the audience tops the slightly paltry Salt Lake crowd, too.
Have a look at 51sprints.com, an amazing website about track athletics, who wins and why.
Also, enjoy Misha, perhaps the greatest mascot ever, from a slightly less spectacular time; Moscow 1980. Bye!
This is the transcript of an TV interview with Ki Bo Bae and Chang Hyejin from the 18th August, revealing, apparently, that the archery team came home early because they were worried about their safety in Rio. Has a few interesting details, although the anchor guy, frustratingly, doesn’t follow up with a couple of tougher questions about selection transparency and elite sporting achievement. Neither of them look very comfortable there.
(It’s often forgotten that recurve target archery in Korea, is a small, elite programme, not a mass-participation sport with channels towards the national side as it is in Europe or America. The same question about whether money should go less towards elite sport in Korea could be directed, in the UK, to track cycling or perhaps rowing – although the source of the money might be different, and just like here, the athletes are probably not the best people to answer it.)
As for the gunfire that Hyejin heard, well, she wasn’t the only person at the Sambodromo to hear some in August. 😐
팩트체크에서 순위 얘기를 많이 했습니다. 저희야 올림픽을 중계해 드리는 방송사는 아닙니다마는. 그런데 오늘(18일) 모신 분들은 정말 뵙고 싶은 분들입니다. 양궁 워낙 세계적으로 정평이 나 있죠, 우리 양궁은. 이번에는 남녀 단체전, 개인전 금메달을 이렇게 이른바 싹쓸이를 해서 전 종목 석권이라는 사상 처음으로 그렇게 됐습니다. 또 꼭 금메달이 다냐, 저희들도 말씀드리고는 하는데 아무튼 개인이 낸 성취로서는 인정을 해 드려야 되는 것이고요.
그래서 또 많은 분들이 관심을 많이 가져주신 두 분 오늘 모셨는데 기보배 선수와 장혜진 선수입니다. 어서 오세요.
At Fact Check, the rankings were much discussed. We are not a station that broadcasts the Olympics. But our guests today (the 18th) are two people we really wanted to meet. Our archery team has gained a reputation across the world. This year for the first time our archery team swept both the male-female team competition and individual competition in terms of gold medals. The fact that they won gold medals isn’t really the most important thing here, but we should recognize their efforts.
So today we have two people who are the topics of a lot of discussion: the athletes Ki Bo-bae and Jang Hye-jin. Welcome.
[기보배·장혜진/양궁 국가대표 : 안녕하세요.]
Ki Bo-bae, Jang Hye-jin/National Archer Representatives: Hello.
반갑습니다. 좀 긴장하셨습니까?
It’s nice to see you. Are you a little nervous?
[기보배·장혜진/양궁 국가대표 : 생방송이라서 긴장돼요.]
[Ki Bo-bae, Jang Hye-jin/National Archer Representatives]: We’re a little nervous because it’s a live broadcast.
저도 긴장하고 있습니다. 좀 쉬셨습니까? 월요일에 귀국하셨는데.
I’m nervous, too. Did you rest any? You returned to Korea on Monday…
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 아니요, 아직 정신없이 인터뷰 다니고 하느라 바빴어요.]
[Jang Hye-Jin National Representative/Archery (LH)]: No, I’m still busy going about and giving interviews. It’s pretty exhausting.
시차 극복도 안 됐을 것 같습니다. 기보배 씨.
It seems like you probably won’t have recovered from jet lag, either, Miss Ki Bo-bae.
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 지금 시차적응이 많이 안 된 상태여서 많이 졸리기는 한데 그래도 가족들이랑 같은 시간을 보내면서 행복한 시간을 보내고 있습니다.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall): I’m tired now because I haven’t really adjusted to the time difference, but I’m spending my time happily with my family.
폐막식까지는 대개 안 계십니까, 우리 선수들은?
Our athletes usually aren’t in the closing ceremony?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 지난 런던올림픽 때는 폐막식까지 있었는데요. 아무래도 이번 브라질올림픽은 좀 치안 걱정을 많이 하다 보니까 일찍 저희가 귀국을 했습니다.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery(Gwangju City Hall: We stayed until the closing ceremony at the last London Olympics. Because we were concerned about the public peace this time at the Brazil Olympics, we went home early.
불안해서? 경기 중에 혹시 그런 건 못 느꼈습니까, 장혜진 씨는?
Because it was uncomfortable? Did you perhaps feel any of that discomfort while participating in the match, Miss Jang Hye-jin?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 저희 양궁장 뒤 쪽이 약간 빈민촌 그쪽이라서 경기 도중에 탕탕 소리 나길래 처음에는 이게 무슨 소리인가 했는데 이제 거기 계시는 분들한테 물어봤었거든요. 저 소리가 총 소리라고 하시더라고요. 그래서 조금 무서웠어요.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: Behind our archery center there was a poor village. During the match, we heard a bang bang sound, and at first we were like “What’s that noise?” So we asked the people there, and they said it was gunfire. So we were a little scared.
그러니까 활 쏘는 데 총 소리가 나더라는 얘기잖아요. 그 당시에는 폭죽 소리인 줄 알았습니까?
So what you are saying is that you heard the sound of guns while you were shooting your bows. Did you think it was firecrackers at that time?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 네.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery (LH)]: Yes.
다행입니다. 차라리 그게 총 소리라고 알았으면 불안했을 텐데. 기보배 선수도 역시 똑같이 들었고요?
That’s a relief. You probably would have felt uncomfortable had you known it was gunfire. Did you also think it was just firecrackers, Miss Ki Bo-bae?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 저도 뒤늦게 알고 나니까 소름 끼쳤어요.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall: I also found out later what the sound was, and when I did, it gave me goosebumps.
그나저나 그러면 폐막식 때는 아무도 안 남아 있을 것 같은 느낌도 듭니다. 그렇지는 않으리라고 봅니다마는. 가 계신 동안에 특히 단체전에서 우승하신 다음에 그런 얘기들이 많이 나왔습니다. 우리 양궁이야말로 선발과정이 굉장히 투명하고 합리적이다. 그래서 다른 분야도 그렇게 투명하고 합리적이었으면 아마 훨씬 더 우리 사회가 좋았을 것이다라는 얘기까지 많이 나왔습니다. 알려진 그대로 그렇게 아주 철저합니까? 그러니까 누가 안다고 해서 봐주고 이런 건 없는 거죠?
If that’s the case, I feel like no one would have been around at the closing ceremony. It seems that way to me. While you were there, especially after you won the team event, some stories began to come out saying that our archery selection manager is very transparent and rational. People have even said that if other people in our society were like him, we would live much better. Is he really as thorough as I have just described? What I mean is, in the selection process, it’s not like anyone has advantages based off their connections?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 네, 사선에서 선수들이 활을 쏘는 만큼 저희가 일단은 무조건 잘 쏘고 선수들이 10점을 쏴놓고 봐야 되는 상황이라서 그런, 옆에 그런 환경에 따라 달라지고 이런 건 없습니다.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery (LH): Yes, the selection competition is really fierce; we first have to shoot well unconditionally and be able to get a score of 10. There’s nothing that changes as a result of our connections.
기보배 선수야 런던올림픽에 가서 우승을 했었고… 장혜진 선수는 그때는 어땠습니까, 런던 때는?
Miss Ki Bo-bae, you went to the London Olympics and won. How did you do at that time, Miss Jang Hye-jin?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 아무래도 4등으로 선발이 안 되고 나서 조금 많이 아쉽기도 했고 이제 조금 힘들었지만 이제 제 스스로의 부족한 모습들을 많이 돌아봤기 때문에 지금 이 자리에 있는 거라고 생각을 하고 있습니다.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: Because I didn’t even get to fourth place, I wasn’t selected, and I really regretted it. It was pretty hard, and I think I’m sitting in this chair today because I overcame my personal deficiencies from that time.
본인이 그걸 제일 많이 느끼셨을 것 같습니다. 지난번에는 4등으로 가지 못했으니까 이번에는 바로 그러네요, 합리적인 시스템에 의해서. 어찌 보면 아주 좋은 시스템과 개인의 노력이 만나서 어떤 굉장히 좋은 시너지 효과를 내는 것이 우리 양궁이 아닌가라는 생각도 드는데 그게 우리 풍토에서 사실 그렇게 쉬운 건 아니잖아요, 그렇죠? 아시는 것처럼. 과거에 다른 종목에서는 여러 가지 얘기들도 나오고 불미스러운 얘기들도 나왔는데 양궁에서만큼은 그것이 자리잡을 수 있었던 이유를 기보배 선수는 어떻게 보고 계실까요?
It seems you would have felt that the strongest. You did well this time because you couldn’t get the top four last time. You did it through a rational system. When you look at it, isn’t our archery team the result of a great system and personal effort meeting and benefiting from the synergy they create—in an environment like ours, that’s not really easy, you know. Right? As you know, in the past at other events, all types of stories came out, including some scandals. What do you think about how it was settled as far as archery is concerned, Miss Ki Bo-bae?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 물론 선수들만의 개인적인 그런 기량만 중요한 게 아니라 그 뒷받침이라든지 그런 협회의 그런 물심양면의 그런 풍족한 그런 지원이 뒷받침이 돼야 아무래도 또 좋은 결과가 따라오지 않나 생각합니다.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: Of course, an athlete’s personal ability is not the only important thing. Whether you call it back-up or regard it as the material and emotional support of an association, I think you need that type of support in order to obtain good results.
그 질문 드린 건 아닌데.
That’s not the question I asked, though.
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 아, 그래요?]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: Oh, really?
역시 긴장을 하신 것 같습니다. 그러니까 아주 철저하게 객관적 성적에 의해서만 다른 거 하나도 신경 쓰지 않고 인간관계라든가 여러 가지 연이라든가 이런 거 신경 안 쓰고 정말 철저하게 실력 위주 선수들로만 뽑는다는 것이 우리 풍토에서는 쉽지 않을 것이다라고 말씀드렸는데 양궁에서는 그걸 해 왔잖아요. 양궁은 그렇게 해 왔을 수 있는 그런 원동력이랄까, 배경이랄까. 어떤 걸까요? 너무 어려운 질문인가요?
You really do seem nervous. So when our team selects athletes, we do so just looking through thoroughly objective results? There’s no consideration of the connections one has or age—selections are made just purely based on ability? That doesn’t seem easy in our cultural climate, but our archer team has managed it. Would you call this an impetus of archery? Or is it the background of our team—which one? Is the question too hard?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 어려워요.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: It’s hard.
취소할까요? 알겠습니다. 취소하겠습니다. 왜냐하면 본인들은 사실 그런 걸 생각할 필요도 없이 늘 그렇게 해 왔기 때문에 왜 그랬을까 하고 생각할 그런 이유는 없었을지도 모르겠습니다. 저 같은 속인이 생각하기에 그것이 좀 대단하다라는 생각이 들어서 질문을 드렸습니다. 취소했습니다. 알겠습니다. 그러면 한 가지만 더 어려운 질문 해야 되겠네요. 아무 분이나 대답하셔도 됩니다. 이번 올림픽을 특히 거치면서 그런 얘기들 많이 했습니다. 그러니까 특히 일본하고도 비교가 되면서 이른바 엘리트 체육보다는 사회체육으로 가는 것이 아주 장기적으로 보면 더 좋은 것이 아니냐라는 얘기들을 사실 전부터 많이 해 왔는데 두 선수는 사실 거기에 대해서 어떻게 답변할지도 저는 조금 궁금하기도 합니다. 이것도 어려운 질문인가요?
Shall we not discuss it? Okay. We’ll just drop this topic. Because actually you always come without having the need to think about this type of stuff, you might not know the answer. I asked because I personally thought it was amazing. Let’s drop this topic, though. Okay. Then, it looks like I have to ask one more difficult question. Anyone can answer. During this Olympics, some stories came out comparing us to Japan, saying that it would be better for us in the long term to move towards societal physical education rather than focus on just elite physical education. These opinions have been floating about, and I’m really curious to know how you two would respond. Is this also a hard question?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 한마디로 말씀드리면 생활체육이랑 비인기 종목, 인기 종목 이렇게 말씀하시는 건가요?]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: If you had to say it in just one word, do you mean something like recreational sports, popular events, and popular events?
그러니까 선수들을 이렇게 뽑아서 철저하게 관리하고… 그렇죠? 그렇게 하는 거보다 저변을 더 확대하는 것이 중요하지 않느냐 이런 의견들이겠죠. 틀린 얘기는 아니죠. 이 질문도 취소하겠습니다.
I’m saying athletes are selected this way [though elite physical education] and thoroughly maintained…right? There are opinions that instead of following our current system, expanding the recruiting base is more important. It’s not inaccurate, you know. I will also dump this question.
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 죄송해요. 도움이 못 되어 드려서.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: I’m sorry. I can’t help you.
아닙니다. 그럴 수 있습니다. 또 얼마든지 그렇게 생각하실 수 있는 거니까. 그런데 그렇게도 가고 또 이렇게 훌륭한 선수들을 잘 양성하는 것도 중요하고 그게 좋겠죠.
No. That’s fine, too. You haven’t had long to think about it. But it would be great and important to go and train more amazing athletes.
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 그런데 저희가 다른 나라들에 비해서 초등학교 때부터 우수 선수들을 발굴하기까지 그런 과정들이 이제 다른 외국보다는 조금 뛰어나다고 생각을 하거든요. 그런 부분에 있어서 이제 우리나라 양궁이 좀 더 다른 나라에 비해서 실력 같은 것들이 좀 더 우수하지 않나 그렇게 생각합니다.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: But I think if you compare Korea with other countries, we have a great process for selecting athletes because we discover them as early as elementary school. So I think that because of this our archery team is more skilled than those of other nations.
그렇죠. 그래서 좋은 면이 있기는 있는데 비단 양궁만 놓고 하는 얘기가 아니라 모든 스포츠 분야에 대해서 그런 쪽으로 가는 것도 좋지 않겠냐 하는 의견들이 있다는 것만 전해 드리겠습니다. 이번에는 답변하실 수 있는 질문을 드리겠습니다. 기보배 선수께. 걱정되십니까?
That’s right. That’s a great aspect. I’m of the opinion that it would be great for us to move in that direction for all sports, not just archery. I will now ask the next question to Miss Ki Bo-bae. Are you nervous?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 네.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: Yes.
저는 이게 궁금했습니다. 양궁은 감으로 하는 것이 중요하냐, 철저한 어떤 계산, 공식에 의한 계산이 중요한가, 활을 쏠 때. 예를 들면 제가 말씀드리는 건 풍향, 그렇죠? 풍속 이런 것들. 이런 걸 철저하게 계산해서 하는 것이냐, 그것과 동시에 또 선수 개인의 감이 굉장히 중요한 것 같기도 하고 어떨까요?
I was wondering about this: is it important to do archery based off your feelings, or is it more important to be formally thorough and calculative when you shoot the bow? For example, is it important for an athlete to rely on her senses when she shoots?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 어떻게 보면 이런 환경적인 요인이라든지 바람에 대한 그런 계산은 해야 되는 것도 마찬가지지만 이런 선수에 대한 감각적인 게 더 저는 중요하다고 생각합니다. 아무래도 그런 외부적인 환경도 몸으로 느끼는 것이기 때문에 오히려 감각적인 게 더 우선이라고 저는 생각합니다.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: When you look at it, there are environmental factors that you need to take into consideration, such as the wind. You need to calculate these, but I think the athlete’s senses are more important. External factors are just something the archer needs to sense with her body, so I think the athlete’s senses should be considered the most important.
하기는 공식에 의해서 계산한다면 못할 사람이 어디 있겠습니까, 그렇죠? 감이 중요한 거겠죠. 그래서 장혜진 선수께 한번 여쭤보겠는데 장혜진 선수의 특징은 딱 겨눈 다음에 얼마 안 걸린다면서요?
There are probably people who can’t do it if they formally calculate, right? Feelings are probably the most important factor. So I will ask you, Miss Jang Hye-jin, people say your unique trait is that it doesn’t take you long to shoot your bow. Is that true?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 타이밍이 짧은 편입니다.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH): My timing is pretty quick.
한 다음에 바로 쏘면 그게 가서 맞는. 기보배 선수보다는 더 시간을 덜 쓰는 편인가요?
You shoot one after the other. Are you quicker or slower than Miss Ki Bo-bae?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 컨디션이 좋을 때에는 많이 짧은 편이고 이제 보배가 아까 말했듯이 감이 선수들만의 각자 감이 있는데, 그 감이 조금씩 나빠질 때에는 저도 타이밍이 길어지는 상황이에요.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: When my condition is good, I’m really quick, and like Bo-bae just said, archers who rely on their senses each have their own sense of feeling. When that feeling is bad, my timing also takes longer.
이건 굉장히 설명하기 어려운 거일 수도 있는데요. 그 감은 어떻게 좋다, 나쁘다를 그러면 본인이 알 수가 있습니까?
This is an extremely difficult topic to explain. How can you know if your feeling is good or bad?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 저희가 활을 당기면서 손에서 활을 놓기까지 손가락 감각이라고 해야 되나. 딱 놓았을 때 10점이다, 9점이다, 이런 느낌이 있거든요.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: While we pull the bow and release it from our hands, we feel it in our fingers. When we release it, we feel “This will be a score of 10 or a score of 9.” We have this type of feeling.
그렇습니까? 손가락에서 맛이 느껴지는 거군요, 그러니까?
Is that so? It’s as if you can feel it in your fingers, right?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 낚시하듯이 손맛이 있는 그런 느낌?]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: Maybe it’s like the way you can feel it in your hands when you fish?
이제 좀 풀리시는 것 같습니다. 죄송합니다. 이게 제가 뵙자마자 너무 아까 딱딱한 질문을 드려서 오히려 더 긴장시켜드리지 않았나 걱정을 했는데 이제 좀 풀리니까 다행이라고 생각하고 있습니다. 제가 인터뷰를 꽤 오래해 왔는데 아직까지 이렇게 멀었습니다. 요령이 없습니다, 제가. 기보배 선수도 바로 그런 감을 느끼시나요?
It seems like you’ve solved it now. Sorry. Earlier I worried that I was making you even more nervous by asking you such difficult questions as soon as we met, but now that you’ve solved that one, I’m relieved. I’m interviewing today for the first time in a long time, and it seems I’m still really distant. I’m without any know-how. Do you also feel that same feeling in your hands, Miss Ki Bo-bae?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 진짜 저희 선수들끼리도 하는 얘기가 항상 똑같은 활을 쏘고 매일 이렇게 400발 넘는 화살을 쏘는데 하루하루가 몸 상태가 어떻게 다를 수가 있느냐, 그런 말을 할 때가 있어요.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery(Gwangju City Hall)]: We have an expression between us archers. To us, it feels like we shoot the same bow every time, and we shoot it over 400 times every day. We sometimes ask how it is that despite this, it feels different every time we shoot.
그렇죠. 저도 매일매일 방송하지만 매일 감이 또 다를 때도 있거든요. 그렇게 하니까 이해가 가는 것 같습니다. 그렇게 보면 어찌 보면 아무나 할 수 있는 건 아닌 것 같다라는 느낌도 듭니다, 양궁이라는 게.
That’s right. I also broadcast every day, but the feeling is different every time. When you put it that way, I can understand it.And I also feel that when you look at it like that, it’s not really something that everyone can do—archery, I mean.
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 처음 접하시면 좀 힘들죠, 아무래도.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: It’s hard when you first come into it, I guess.
당기는 것도 보통 힘이 들어가는 건 아닐 텐데. 저는 한 번도 안 해 봐서 잘 모르겠습니다마는.
It also seems like you need to use a lot of strength to pull the bow. I’ve never tried it, so I don’t really know, but…
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 건장한 남성들이 당기기에도 조금 버거워해요. 선수용 활은.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery(LH)]: It’s even a little difficult for burly men to pull professional bows.
그렇습니까? 더 대단해 보이십니다. 잠깐 잊어버린 게 있는데 같이 못 오신 최미선 선수는 잘 있죠? 지금 집에 가 있습니까, 광주에?
Is that so? That makes you seem even more amazing. I forgot to mention—is the athlete Choi Mi-seon also doing well? I know she couldn’t come today; did she go back to her home in Gwangju?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 네. 소속팀에 내려가 있어요.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery(Gwangju City Hall)]: Yes, she went down to be with her team.
소속팀에. 시청자분들께서 기왕이면 최미선 선수도 같이 좀 모셨으면 좋았겠다라는 말씀을 해 주셔서 안부 좀 여쭤봤습니다. 같이 오셨으면 좋았을 텐데 본인이 개인전 끝나고 많이 서운해 했을 것 같은데 많이 좀 위로를 해 주셨죠?
The viewers told Choi Mi-seon’s team that it would have been nice if she could come as well, seeing as she is one of the best. It would have been great to have had you all come together, but you must have been a little sad after your individual competitions ended. Did she comfort you a lot?
[기보배·장혜진/양궁 국가대표 : 네.]
[Ki Bo-bae/Jang Hye-jin/Archery National Representatives] Yes.
알겠습니다. 한 가지 질문만 더 드리겠습니다. 두 선수의 공통점이라면 아주 어렸을 때부터 두각을 나타내는 것은 아니라고 제가 들었습니다. 그래서 중·고등학교 때는 큰 두각을 그렇게 나타내지 못하다가 나중에 점점 더 좋아진… 그래서 어떻게 보면 초반에 좀 아주 잘 쏘는 선수들 보면서 좌절한 것은 없었는지. 그럼에도 불구하고 극복할 수 있었던 건 뭘까요? 기보배 씨?
Okay. I will ask you one more question. I’ve heard that you two have something in common—that when you were both young, you had not really distinguished yourselves. So you weren’t that distinguished during middle and high school, but you gradually bettered yourselves later on… So when you first started, did you feel frustrated when you watched archers who were really good? What was it that you had to overcome? Miss Ki Bo-bae?
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 저 역시도 이제 고등학교 때 슬럼프를 한 번 겪었었고요. 그리고 다른 잘하는 선수들 보면서 진짜 부러움의 대상이었죠, 그 친구들이. 그래서 나도 언제쯤 저렇게 금메달 딸 수 있을까라는 그런 생각을 많이 했었는데 항상 제 자리에서 한 발, 한 발 최선을 다하다 보니까 그 친구들을 뛰어넘고 이렇게 정상의 자리까지 설 수 있었던 것 같아요.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: I really suffered a serious slump in high school. When I watched the other really good athletes, I was really jealous of them. I always wondered if I could someday win a gold medal like them, but I always kept moving forward step-by-step and gave it my all. The result is that I overtook those friends and eventually came to stand at the top.
You, too, Miss Jang Hye-jin?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 네.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery (LH)]): Yes.
네, 해 버리시면….
Yes, if you would continue…
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 저도 마찬가지로 제가 2010년도에 처음으로 국가대표가 됐었는데 그전까지는 그냥 되게 국가대표가 되겠다는 목표보다는 그냥 되게 작은 목표에 만족하면서 살았었는데 2009년도 대표 8명을 뽑는데 9등을 한 적이 있어요. 그때부터 제가 나도 할 수 있겠다라는 생각이 들면서 조금 더 이제 악착같이 연습을 했던 것 같아요.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery (LH)]: I also was first selected as a national representative in 2010. Until that time, I was satisfied with just accomplishing small goals, but in 2009, they chose the top eight representatives. I was in 9th place. Ever since then, I’ve really practiced pretty stubbornly thinking that I also could be one of the top representatives.
도쿄올림픽도 도전하실 거죠, 물론?
You’ll definitely compete in the Tokyo Olympics as well, right?
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 네. 해 볼 수 있는 데까지 해 보고 싶습니다.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery (LH)]: Yes, I want to see the land of the rising sun.
그때 만약 단체전에서 이기면 3연패가 됩니다, 기보배 선수는. 그런데 그전에 아까 말씀드린 대로 그 혹독한 선발전을 거쳐야 되는 거니까 어떻게 보면 참 힘들겠다 하는 생각을 다시 한 번 하게 되네요. 고생들 많이 하셨습니다. 총 소리 나는 데서 활 쏘고 오시느라고 고생들 많이 하셨습니다. 이제 조금 쉬시고 시차 극복을 하시고 하셨으면 좋겠네요. 오늘 나와주셔서 고맙습니다.
If at that time you win in the team competition, it will become three successive victories, Miss Ki Bo-bae. But as you said before, the selection process for representatives is really harsh and intense. Because you have to pass it, I think it’s really difficult to be part of the team. You even competed in a place surrounded by gunfire. You’ve really worked hard. I hope you can rest a little now and overcome your jet lag. Thank you so much for coming onto the program today.
[장혜진 국가대표/양궁(LH) : 감사합니다.]
[Jang Hye-jin National Representative/Archery (LH)]: Thank you.
[기보배 국가대표/양궁(광주시청) : 감사합니다.]
[Ki Bo-bae National Representative/Archery (Gwangju City Hall)]: Thank you.
Quite a long post today. I’ve been back in the UK for five days, but I’m still dreaming about Rio every night. Odd new sports. Athletes in desperate need of quotes. It’s left an impression on me. I hope it did the same for you.
OK. Firstly, the Olympic channel has finally got busy and started putting up videos from the finals on YouTube – although their attention to detail (& logic) leaves something to be desired. You can watch everything currently available on this playlist here. Some of the highlights:
Women’s individual final with (I think) BBC commentary here (you may have to click for an external link)
Men’s individual gold medal match here:
Just a bit of the women’s team bronze and gold medal matches here (spoiler alert):
Hardly any of the sublime men’s team final here:
…but most of the men’s team bronze match here. Well done Alec and the boys:
Then there’s a really quite funny quiz with Brady Ellison:
So after the match between Chang Hyejin and the North Korean archer Kang Un Ju, the latter sprinted through the press mixed zone like Usain Bolt with two dozen screaming Korean journos reaching after her and gunning the Nikons. Shortly afterwards, I was informed that there was a weird incident involving a dodgy Korean (presumably South) camera crew out the back of the venue trying to interview Un Ju and getting some cables ripped out the back of their camera by her ‘coaches’ (read: minders).
Suffice it to say, both archers were very much expected to win that match, the only direct one-on-one North v South matchup of the entire Games (if I checked correctly). Hyejin suggested cooly afterwards: ‘It gathered a lot of attention in our country. I had a lot of pressure and I knew that I needed to win it.” which I suspect is a grand understatement. It’s a bit of a shame, especially as elsewhere there was a rather sweet story involving North and South Korean gymnasts getting a selfie together.
“I think this is a really iconic Games. It is also a Games in the middle of reality. They were not organised in a bubble. They were organised in a city where there are social problems, social divides, where real life continued and I think it was very good for everybody.
“To be close to reality and not to have it in a bubble for 16 days, the Games somehow being isolated. To be in the middle of it, to see reality and by seeing this to put sport into perspective.” – Thomas Bach, president of the IOC
I’m going to discuss a few things now. I suspect the Rio Games will be remembered for a long, long time, as a major pivotal point in Olympic history. The ‘old model’ is gone.
In the end, despite terrible doomsaying and a handful of dark mishaps, it went off mostly without a hitch – but against an unignoreable backdrop of a city struggling to put on the event financially and a population that seemed to largely, but certainly not completely, turn its back. They did it very much their way. The best bits shone bright, but the empty seats across the board, whether due to disinterest or overpricing or sheer distance from anything else, told a tale which was impossible for a global TV audience to ignore.
Few cities on Earth could have lived up to 2012. London sold out almost every ticket across the Games, which no Olympics has ever got close to before , and may never again. The London Paralympics was almost sold out before it started. The British people – belatedly – got fully behind it, seeing sports they’d never heard of, plus London has hundreds of large immigrant communities from all over the world which helped to fill seats everywhere. For example, there are over 15,000 Koreans resident in London, who bought a lot of tickets for archery, taekwondo and much else besides. And London is a densely populated, obscenely wealthy city with a lot more potential for an extended legacy for the infrastructure.
So it was always going to be difficult to follow London (let alone Beijing and/or Sochi), but as many people at home and away have said to me, there seemed to be something missing – a genuine sense of festival, or a sense of the transformative power of sport. For spectators, there was nagging feeling that it might not quite have been worth it. The full competition had many highlights across the board, but without that collective atmosphere, that powerful sense of identity.
In Rio, the threat of Zika and crime scared off more casual tourists, whatever the milder reality might have been. The tickets were far too expensive, just as they were for working people in London, but Brazil is in a horrible recession with rampant unemployment – and there were many other issues over the buildup that I’m sure you’ve already read about over and again. And I’m not sure if anyone realises quite how long-term toxic the wider issues with doping in athletics, the flagship of the fleet, have been to the Olympics overall.
A less-mentioned problem is a general lack of Olympic cultural identity. Britain (for example) has a long legacy and cultural memory of Olympic participation and success, from Coe and Ovett and Thompson in the 80s, Redgrave & Backley in the 90s etc. It’s a part of the culture, and there are collective memories of it and being part of it.
yeah, I went up it. like everyone else (it was brilliant)
It’s a shame, but many Brazilians just don’t have that sense of the Olympics as being something the country is involved in, where Brazil plays a part in the narrative. (They love some sports – football, of course, and volleyball; the only two sports that really shifted a lot of tickets). But a lot of the rest of it just didn’t register as something you could play a part in, and the average person in Rio had more pressing things on their mind.
When even the athletics session for Usain Bolt running the 100m, an event watched by two billion people in 2012, isn’t sold out, you know something is very wrong. (It didn’t help that, due to TV demands, the athletics ran very late and finished close to midnight, in a part of town that isn’t the best and is ill-served by public transport).
Ultimately the people spoke, and they said: There are more important things than a canoe slalom course. And of course, they are absolutely right. I still believe in the Olympics as a powerful force for good in the world, as the single time every four years when the world comes together to celebrate what humans can achieve. But it has become, in the 21st century, something that is too simply large, too expensive, and too difficult to impose upon people in its present form.
Believe it or not, when Rio was awarded the Games in 2009, on a grand-scale it seemed like a genuinely brilliant idea. The economy was going through the roof. Oil was at record highs. It fit past Olympic narratives of a national power thrusting fully into the world after a long period in the wilderness. Memories of Tokyo ’64, with a modern industrial nation emerging from losing a war, and similar tales at Seoul in 1988. There’s a strong sense that everybodywanted it to work like that; Brazil, with all its extraordinary natural advantages and increasing financial clout, finally taking a place at the forefront of the modern world with a Rio Olympics as a catalyst. Everyone was hopeful.
But there’s a grim proverb popular over there: “Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be.” It didn’t quite happen as intended, for reasons recounted ad nauseam already, and because of that, a lot of rather bright light has been shone on the Olympic movement, the IOC, its legacies and its future.
I count myself very lucky indeed to have been able to visit such a great country with some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met – and Rio itself is a extraordinary place, rugged and difficult, but often exquisitely beautiful, with a manic, creative energy unlike anywhere else on earth. It would be a terrible shame if the legacy is as grim as many are predicting. And when I think about some of the brilliant, brilliant Olympians I met, the athletes who had worked so incredibly hard, and the wonderful staff and volunteers at the Sambodromo, all working to make something amazing, I start welling up once again.
There’s a gazillion articles out there this week about the wider Olympics. (If you want to keep it frivolous, I recommend this one.)
Some more interesting longread postscript articles you might enjoy:
The Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí was built in 1984, as a parade ground for the samba schools in the annual Rio Carnival; there are now ‘Sambadromes’ in several other Brazilian cities. Nearly a kilometre long, it was made by converting an existing street and adding bleachers along its length. One end is a large square, where the parades finish; this is now the ranking round and practice range. Immediately next to that is the finals field, where the magic will happen. This is walled off at two ends and much more enclosed than previous Olympic archery venues. A little theatre. I think it’s going to be noisy.
what it looks like at Carnival time. Photo: Nat. Geographic
Unlike all the other Olympic venues in Rio, it’s resolutely urban, stuck in the middle of a working-class neighbourhood called Cidade Nova, currently crawling with police. Bounded to the north by an eight-lane highway, another long freeway runs right down one side, only about twenty yards from our press tent. All around are unclosed roads.
Past the arch, to the south, lie three large favelas, the oldest being Morro da Mineira. It’s an oddity that in most places in the world, the rich live up the top of the hill, with housing getting grander the higher you go. In many (but not all) parts of Rio it’s exactly the opposite.
It’s the only Olympic venue where you can see Rio’s most famous icon, the statue of Christ The Redeemer built in the 1930s, merely by looking up from the range – which should give succour to the several Catholics with a shot at an archery medal.
It’s difficult to say it’s a pretty place. It’s designed to come alive with colour and people and music; a neutral space. It’s a vast, monumentally brutal bit of concrete surrounded by more crumbling concrete, and much of it is in dire need of a paint job. When you hear it was made by Brazil’s most famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer, at first I thought, well, everyone has a bad day at the office.
I absolutely loved this landed-UFO-cum-Bond-villain-lair showing off on a short spit of land overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain, although it’s almost too outré for it’s own good. No-one visiting seemed bothered about the rather confusing exhibition currently on display. They’d come to see IT, not what was in it.
Niemeyer, who died in 2012, was famous for his curves – rather like another late Olympic architect, Zaha Hadid, who designed the aquatics centre for London. His most famous quote on the subject goes like this:
I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein.
Which seems a bit at odds with the squared off, boxy concrete lines I’m currently spending all day, every day in. But once I started nosing around the Sambodromo, I finally started seeing a little of the architect’s vision; the detailing, the shaping and yep, the curves.
I think it’ll be a memorable outing – and I hope for all the right reasons. Our thing, our little corner, has the potential to be something very special, if the weather holds out and the soft winter sunshine makes the concrete glow.
I’m glad it’s here, in this defiantly real part of town, and not in some gleaming new arena that’s going to be broken up in a few weeks. It’s a spot with a bit of soul. Let’s watch what happens together.
The Sambodromo is finally open for training, and the first athletes and teams arrived today: Brazil, India, Malaysia and a lone archer from Belarus; Anton Prilepov. Especially good to see the home nation out there, looking comfortable and relaxed in the late afternoon sun. (Sunset is at 1730 here).
No other Olympic venue has quite such a dramatic skyline, taking in the spectacular Oscar Niemeyer arch, the Morro De Mineira favela, and Christo Redentor looking down on us all.
(It won’t be that exposed wood behind the targets for ranking or finals, a backdrop is going in this week. There’s a few little details still to go).