Preview: Mixed team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Dutch team shoot in the mixed team event at the second stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Lausanne.

Updated with confirmed line-ups on 23 July.

Archery was one of the first sports to include a dedicated women’s competition – back in 1904.

It was also one of the first sports to feature an entirely balanced programme for the genders when the current 128-athlete quota, for 64 men and 64 women, was introduced in 1996.

The mixed team format was added to the programme of the World Archery Championships in 2011. A decade on, it’s finally making its debut at the Olympics – and bringing the total number of medals available in the archery competitions at the Games to five for the first time since the sport’s return to the programme in 1972.

It’s the first medal in Tokyo, and it could be one of the most exciting, too.

Only about half of the eligible nations will progress to the matches, so a strong qualifying is vital. And there are plenty of talented partnerships, especially from nations that wouldn’t normally contest team or even individual medals. The mixed team could easily end up being the most unexpected podium of these Olympics.

Key information

What’s happening? The mixed team event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 24 July 2021.

What’s at stake? The first mixed team Olympic Champion title.

Who’s competing? Pairs representing 29 nations – but only 16 will make the cut to the matchplay phase of the event. The other 13 will be eliminated after qualifying.

What’s the story? Making its debut at the Games, the mixed team format puts the competitive parity between men and women in elite archery on full display. It’s the first medal awarded in Tokyo, and it’s an opportunity to write history.

Podium at Rio 2016

Tokyo marks the Olympic debut for the mixed team event, so there was no podium at the previous Games.

World ranking (top 5)

As of the start of the Olympic Games on 23 July.

  1. NED flag Netherlands
  2. KOR flag Korea
  3. MEX flag Mexico
  4. TPE flag Chinese Taipei
  5. RUS flag Russia


While Korea is a favourite in each event, Netherlands duo Gaby Schloesser and Sjef van den Berg have emerged as consistent contenders as a pair. India has a real shot with married couple Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das as well.

The mixed team event is arguably the most intriguing ahead of the Games, as many nations can field one elite man and one elite woman – rather than a top-shelf full team of three athletes of one gender – making it probably the most likely competition to produce a real surprise result.

Competition format

Mixed teams are seeded on the combined qualifying result of the highest scoring man and woman shooting for each nation. The maximum score for a pair in qualifying is 1440 points.

Nations then shoot through head-to-head brackets, in which the winning mixed team in each match advances and the loser is eliminated until a champion is crowned.

Mixed team matches are decided using the set system in which the goal is to accrue five set points. Matches usually last around 18 minutes.

Each match is broken down into sets of four arrows. The mixed teams shoot their set in two rotations of two arrows, one per archer, before alternating to the opposing team. Each pair has 80 seconds to shoot their four arrows.

Once all of the arrows in a set are shot, the nation with the highest total arrow score in that set is awarded two set points. Both nations receive one set point if the total arrow score is tied. The maximum total arrow score in a single set is 40 points.

If the nations are tied on four set points after four sets, the match is sent to a tiebreak.

Each archer shoots one arrow and the nation with the highest score wins the match. If still tied, the nation with the arrow closest to the middle of the target wins the match. (The second arrows are compared if the first are an identical distance from the middle.)