Ki Bo Bae of South Korea wins Gold medal in individual archery final
On Thursday, South Korea's Ki Bo Bae won the Gold medal in a dramatic shoot-out against Mexico's Aida Roman in the women's individual archery at the London 2012 Olympic Games held at Lord's cricket ground.
Ki, who had already won a Gold medal in the women's team event, was stronger in the opening stages of the packed final on the perfectly manicured turf normally reserved for the world's top cricketers and took an early lead, buoyed on by the Korean supporters. She led 3-1 before Roman fought back to level the match after the third set.
It looked like Ki was on for the gold when she scored three consecutive 10s in the fourth set, but she could not finish the job in the final set. Roman won the last two sets, picking up four set points.
Ki, who shot first, needed a nine with her last arrow in the fifth set but could only manage an eight. Next, it was Roman who just needed to put her arrow in the yellow centre ring, but she also shot an eight and her arrow ended up further away from the centre than Ki's, so the sets were tied at 5-5, taking the final into a tense, sudden-death shoot-off.
Ki went first and looked downcast after she missed the centre circle 10 in a fluky crosswind, scoring an eight. However Roman also was off-target with an eight, shooting her arrow left and further away from the centre than Ki's, resulting in South Korea's second archery Gold medal. The relieved South Korean hugged her coach in celebration, while Roman smiled ruefully after the pressure got to her.
The Gold was South Korea's third medal in archery as the men's team had won Bronze.
"Today, I think I was, in part, lucky," Ki said through an interpreter. "I didn't see the last shot by Aida because I was just praying so hard. Finally, the Gold medal was intended for me."
"Strictly speaking, it wasn't that difficult a shot," Roman said, "but it became a lot more complicated."
Roman's silver was the second medal of the day for the young Mexico team after 18-year-old teammate, Mariana Avitia beat USA veteran Khatuna Lorig 6-2 in the Bronze medal match. Earlier, Avitia beat Great Britain's highly credentialled, Naomi Folkard.
Lorig, who lost the bronze medal shoot-out, was competing in her fifth successive Olympics for a third different country. She was denied a second medal in her fifth Olympics and 20 years after her first win, a bronze at Barcelona.
Born Khatuna Kvrivichvili, she anglicised her surname to Lorigi and earned a bronze medal in the women's team, competing for the Unified Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and went on to compete for Georgia at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics as Khatuna Lorigi. Lorig became a naturalized US citizen and qualified to compete in the women's individual archery event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The 38-year-old Lorig trained actress Jennifer Lawrence on how to shoot a bow for her role in the recent movie, 'Hunger Games'.
The American TV Network, NBC said Thursday that during the first few days of its Olympics coverage, archery was the most popular sport of any that it aired on its cable networks, bigger even than basketball. Archery averaged 1.5 million viewers when it came on TV.
NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus attributed the interest in part to the popularity of "The Hunger Games" getting young people interested in bows and arrows. American archer Brady Ellison is also a big draw.
It is reminiscent of when recent Winter Olympics telecasts fuelled an interest in curling.