Do Olympic Archers Need to Have Perfect Vision?

A legally blind South Korean archer captured the first world record of the London Olympics in 2012. At age 26, Im Dong-hyun scored 699 points out of a possible 720 in the first round of the men’s event, breaking his own 72-arrow mark. Im Dong-hyun has 20/200 vision in his left eye, which means he needs to be 10 times closer to see an object than someone with perfect 20/20 vision. He has 20/100 vision in his right eye. Im says that wearing glasses makes him uncomfortable. He says he “relies on distinguishing between the bright colors on the target,” which has rings of yellow, red, blue and black. "If I couldn't see the colors, now that would be a problem,” he quipped.

Seeing Im shoot is believing:

  • Im Dong-hyun was the top seed after the ranking round but was eliminated in the round of 16, settling for a bronze medal as part of the South Korean team.
  • Archers aim their arrows at a target that is 70 meters (230 ft) away -- quite a feat for someone who struggles to see the print on a newspaper.
  • Im prefers to downplay his short-sightedness. “It's unpleasant when people say I'm disabled,” he said. “All this interest in my sight is not welcome.”
More Info: CNN

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