Archery

Archery

Archery has existed at least as long as history has been recorded. For instance, one reason the fearsome Vikings of the eighth and ninth centuries were such successful warriors was due to their masterful skill as archers. Furthermore, it was Edward III’s troops of skilled archers that are credited with winning the historic battles of Calais and Crecy at the start of the Hundred Years’ War. In the United States, the sport gained widespread popularity in 1828 when the first important association, the “United Bowmen of Philadelphia”, was formed. Archery made its debut in the Modern Olympics in 1900, but the diverse styles of archery throughout the world made competition difficult. For instance, the British shot long distances while other European countries favored shorter ranges and smaller targets. Furthermore, in Switzerland, archers preferred to use the crossbow. However, archers of the United States developed their own style by combining the best of English archery and the skills learned from the American Indian. Therefore, at the early Olympic Games, athletes presented archery more as an exhibition than as a true competition. Finally, in 1931, the first official Olympics archery competition was held. Americans performed exceptionally well… taking gold medals in both men’s and women’s international doubles rounds. In honor of the Olympics event of archery, the United States Postal Service issued the stamp which is featured on this First Day Cover.