The weather can affect Archery more than any other sport. Olympic Archer Mike Peart reveals how he stays on target whatever the weather.
Archery is one of the oldest arts and dates back around 10,000 years, when bows and arrows were first used for hunting and warfare - long before it developed as a competitive activity in medieval England.
The object of the sport is simple: to shoot arrows as close to the centre of a target as possible. Olympic Archery targets are 122 cm in diameter, with the gold ring at the centre (worth a maximum 10 points) measuring just 12.2 cm. Athletes shoot at the target from a distance of 70 m using recurve bows - distinctive as the limbs curve outwards at the top. Men and women compete separately, both as individuals and in teams of three.
Wind is an archer's worst enemy.
The link between weather and success in archery is perhaps one of the most obvious of all the Olympics sports. Wind, of course, is the archer's biggest enemy. Mike Peart says, "Even if I aim dead-centre, the arrow can drift, two, three, foot feet away and sometimes I can miss the target. Even though I have shot, the wind can take it totally off."
"I will look at the forecast ... if it looks as if it is going to be really windy then I need to prepare mentally and set a different target. It would be unrealistic to think I would set a high score when it is blowing a gale." Mike uses the Met Office weather app to get up to date information on the go. He says, "I use the app to see what the temperature is like, [and to] see if I need to take my waterproofs or thermals. If it has a high wind forecast I will set up my bow a little bit heavier."
Temperature - and particularly humidity also play a part, affecting the equipment athletes use. "Humidity used to play a big part, especially on the arrows. As the humidity changed, the arrows would have a different stiffness and cause variability." This was also the case for the limbs of the bow as they used to be partly made of wood which would absorb the moisture in the air. Now, however, humidity is less of an issue as most archers have bows that are on the cutting-edge of material technology. Some professional bows can cost upwards of £2500, made of carbon composites which aren't affected in the same way.
Met Office forecasters will be providing accurate wind forecasts to LOCOG ahead of this years archery competition within the Olympic and Paralympic games. Even with professionals at hand to forecast the weather it will come down to the steady hand and experience of our Team GB Archers.
More information about London 2012 Archery is available from the official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games website.
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