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Adding Compound Bows to Pan American Games Boosts Archery

Adding compound bows to the Pan Am Games increases exposure for this discipline and may help boost interest and participation in archery.
Photo Credit: World Archery

Author: Cassie Scott

Scott Einsmann contributed to this article.

World Archery recently announced compound archery will be part of the 2019 Pan American Games. This is great news for the archery and bowhunting industry. Here’s some background:

A 2015 press release by World Archery requested compound archery be added to the Pan Am Games. WAA General Secretary Sergio Font confirmed the decision Feb. 9 and released a second press release.

The Pan American Games are held every four years, one year before the Summer Olympics. The event hosts thousands of athletes from North and South America who compete in many sports, including firearms shooting and recurve archery. And now, compound archery.

“Increasing competitive events for compound archers is a critical step if we’re to see compounds join recurves in Olympic archery,” said Jay McAninch, ATA’s CEO/president. “Compounds are growing in importance to archers worldwide, so increasing opportunities for the best archers to compete internationally is great for our sport.”

Font agrees. “The inclusion of the compound bow in the major continental Games would be very positive in our pursuit to have the compound bow in the Olympic Games,” he told USA Archery.

“Compounds are growing in importance to archers worldwide, so increasing opportunities for the best archers to compete internationally is great for our sport,” said Jay McAninch, ATA’s president/CEO.

The Olympics dropped archery in 1920, but brought it back for the 1972 Games. Compounds were in their infancy during the early 1970s, and remained unpopular internationally until recent years. Therefore, recurves have since remained archery’s only Olympic discipline.

With the compound bow included in multi-sport events like the Asian Games, World Games, Pan Am Games and – hopefully – the European Games soon, its growing worldwide popularity makes it viable for the Olympics.

Although this widespread recognition by prestigious events is important, many criteria must be met before compound archery receives Olympic consideration. Still, adding compounds to the Pan Am Games increases exposure for this discipline and will likely boost interest and participation in archery.

Recurve bows have remained the Olympic Games’ only archery discipline since returning to the Games in 1972. With the compound bow included in multi-sport events like the Pan Am Games, however, its growing worldwide popularity makes it viable for the Olympics.

“It expands visibility for compound archers and sends a strong message that compounds are as much fun and satisfying to shoot as recurves,” McAninch said. “Any time archery participation increases from positive exposure, our industry expects more chances to help people enjoy our sport from the first arrow they shoot.”

McAninch said it’s important to recognize each introduction as a unique opportunity for archery that varies by person.

“Recruitment is a process that starts with awareness and interest and, hopefully, ends up with participation,” McAninch said. “But everyone proceeds through the process at their own pace.”

In other words, the industry must welcome new participants, no matter what inspires their first visit to a range or pro shop. The industry hopes the compound bow reaches the Olympics soon, and sparks a new wave of archery recruits.

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