Olympics-Archery-Unvaccinated U.S. archer misses fans as S.Korea wins mixed gold

·2 min read
Archery - Mixed Team - 1/8 Finals

By Ju-min Park

TOKYO (Reuters) -U.S. archer Mackenzie Brown bemoaned the lack of fans on Saturday after she and Brady Ellison - both unvaccinated against COVID-19 - crashed out of the mixed event, as South Korea won its first Tokyo 2020 gold with a record-breaking run.

She and world number one Ellison, seeded second in an event making its Olympic debut, lost in the first round to Indonesian 15th seeds Diananda Choirunisa and Riau Salsabilla.

"It's supposed to be big and give you goosebumps... We're out here by ourselves. You know, we've got our team mates, but there's nobody out here," Brown said.

"To work for five years for an Olympic Games and then not to have any spectators at all is a little bit frustrating."

In common with all other Games venues in the host city, no fans are being allowed into the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field due to coronavirus protocols, so competitors had only team mates to cheer them on.

"Make some noise for Team USA," a games announcer said at one point through a loudspeaker, to a muted response.

Both Americans had said they had opted through personal choice not to get COVID-19 shots, adding that they were complying with protocols, from wearing masks on the field to being testing every day. Ellison said he had already had the infection..

The mixed archery gold went to number one seeds An San and Kim Je Deok, who extended South Korea's long winning run at Olympic archery.

An, 20, said the lack of an audience had not fazed her.

"We had the audience (of team mates) that is just as big as domestic games, so I was nervous at the right amount," she said, a day after breaking the women's Olympic scoring record, which had stood for 25 years, with 680 points out of 720.

"I told An San, Let's shoot confident, and stick to what we have been doing," added Kim, 17, after they beat Dutch pair 5-3 Gabriela Schloesser and Steve Wijlerin in the final.

When their gold medals were presented on a tray, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, the pair each hung them round the other's neck.

Although not a popular sport in South Korea, the country's Olympic record in archery is unmatched. It has won gold medals at archery in every Games since 1984, and the women's team is aiming for its ninth straight gold, which would be the longest streak in Olympic history.

Mexico claimed bronze, the country's first medal at Olympic archery, while a rueful Ellison was left to reflect on what might have been.

"Honestly, I'm so shocked ...I completely expected us to win a medal today," he said.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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