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2008 Summer Olympic Games Preview - Archery

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The U.S. Archery Team will look for success at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with the recent hiring of world renowned archery coach Kisik Lee. Coach Lee will try to help the U.S. men bring home a medal in 2008 after falling just short (fourth) at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

However, in both the men's and women's events, U.S. Archery along with its counterparts around the world will be underdogs to Coach Lee's native Korean team.

In the 2004 men's team competition, the Korean team successfully defended the gold medal it won at Sydney, Australia in 2000. They recently won the 2008 Meteksan Archery World Cup defeating Malaysia 228-215.

In men's individual archery in Greece, the gold medal was won by Italian Marco Galizzo, silver went to Hiroshi Yamamoto of Japan and bronze to Tim Cuddihy of Australia.

The 2007 Men's World Outdoor Championship gold went to Korean Im Dong-Hyun edging Russian Baljinima Tsyrepilov 110-108 with a perfect 10 on his final arrow. Im will be one of the favorites in Beijing.

"We have a tradition of winning in Korea and I was watching archery when I was a kid," said Im. "I am very proud to carry on the torch."

On the individual women's side, a Korean has won for six consecutive Olympics going all the way back to the 1984 games in Los Angeles. In 2004 Park Sun-Hyun beat out teammate Lee Sung Jun as Korea took both gold and silver. Allison Williamson won the bronze medal.

In team competition, the Korean women's team is a five-time gold medalist dating back to 1988, the first year of women's team competition. In Athens they defeated China 241-240. Korea is coming off a win over No.1-ranked Italy at the Meteksan Archery World Cup 222-220.

In the 2007 World Championships, Park was beaten by current No.1 Natalia Valeeva of Italy. She was the first non-Korean to win a World Championship since 1995 when Valeeva also took first place.

The United States team had five archers qualify for Beijing. The men's team consists of Brady Ellison, Butch Johnson and Vic Wunderle. Two women qualified - Jennifer Nichols and Khatuna Lorig.

Seventeen-year-old Brady Ellison has used a compound bow his entire life, winning two Junior World Championships and only switched over to a recurve bow (the only bow used in the Olympic Games) last fall. In April he won five gold medals at the Mexican Grand Prix and won the 2006 Junior Olympic Archery Development National Championships.

Four-time Olympian Butch Johnson is currently ranked No.2 in the United States.

Vic Wundele won an individual silver and team bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney games and was also a member of the 2004 Olympic team.

Twenty-two year old Jennifer Nichols was a 2004 Olympian and is ranked No.1 in the U.S.

Khatuna Lorig is a three-time Olympian from the Republic of Georgia and is currently ranked No.2 in the U.S. after becoming a citizen last year.

The competition begins at the Olympic Green Archery Field on Saturday, August 9th and finishes on Friday, August 15th.

07/17 13:05:40 ET


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