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The youngest archer’s heart was racing wildly

Posted July. 28, 2021 07:46,   

Updated July. 28, 2021 07:46


Kim Je-deok (17, Gyeonbukil High School) has become double archery gold medalist in the mixed team event and the men’s team event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Kim scored 10 points in such palpable tension like a machine, but he was a human with a heart. Starting from the individual event held on Tuesday, heart rates of archers were broadcasted live for the first time in Olympics history. Athletes draw a bow in perfect silence, but their heart rates show their delicate tension and adrenalin rush.

Kim lost to Florian Unruh of Germany by the set score of 7-3 in the round of 32. The Korean archer’s heart rates vividly showed his nervousness during the match. His heart rate was 125 in the first set where he scored 10 three consecutive times. But it went over 140 after he scored 8 in the first shot of the third set and over 161 when he scored 8 again twice in the fourth set. He had his last shot in the fifth set where he tied with the opponent by the score of 19-19. His heart rate soared to 170 and scored 9. Unruh, who won in the match by scoring 10 with his last shot, also had his heart rate increased to 163.

“On TV, it’s hard to feel the tension of archers who have to score 10,” said Tom Dielen, secretary general of World Archery. “I want to show their vivid tension.” Heart rates are calculated by four sets of cameras installed 12 meters away from athletes based on delicate changes caused by contraction of blood vessels. Heart rates are broadcasted on TV but not displayed in the arena as they could distract athletes.

Bo-Mi Im bom@donga.com