The United States has won four gold medals since target archery became an Olympic sport in 1972. Adding two more in Moscow in 1980 is certainly a realistic goal.
Darrell Pace of Reading, Ohio, and Luann Ryon of Riverside, Calif., earned gold in 1976. Both are strong candidates to make the four-member (two men, two women) U.S. Olympic team next year.
"My chances (of winning a second gold medal) are as good as they were in 1976," said the 22-year-old Pace, a six-time national champion and the 1975 World Champion. "I'm confident, I know what I can do."
"I would love the experience of going to Moscow," said the 26-year-old Ryon, the three-time national and current world champion. "I'll try to use all of my experience to the best of my ability."
Ryon, however, suffered a major disappointment in May when she failed to qualify for the U.S. team that will attend the Pan American Games and the world championships this summer. She finished fifth, just 11 points shy of the fourth place and final qualifier.
"I was terribly disappointed," said Ryon, who uncharacteristically lost a bit of her poise in the four-day qualifying tournament at Texas A&M University.
"Not being able to defend the world championship hurts the most. But I'm sure it won't hurt me in the long run. In fact, it's probably going to help. I'm still very optimistic about it (making the Olympic team)."
The U.S. women's team that will visit Puerto Rico July 2-7 (Pan American Games) and Berlin July 14-17 (World Championships) consists of Judi Adams of Phoenix, Lynette Johnson of Cypress, Calif., Carol Strausburg of Huntington Beach, Calif. and Nancy Myrick of Foley, Ala.
The women's national tournament will be in August and Ryon, who has won three straight national titles, plans to be ready. "I'd like to come back and say, 'Here I am,' and win the fourth one," she said.
Pace won the men's title in the national qualifying tournament, beating his closest rival, Richard McKinney of Muncie, Ind., by 29 points. Also making the team were Rodney Baston of Bossier City, La., and Rick Bednar of Suffield, Ohio. Bednar, who just graduated from the University of Akron last spring, won the U.S. Intercollegiate title in his freshman, sophmore, and junior years.
McKinney, who joined Pace on the 1976 Olympic squad, will defend his world championship title in Berlin.
Dwight Nyquist, coach of the 1980 Olympic squad, feels that the four Olympic representatives from the U.S. will probably come from the team headed for the world championships, with the addition of Ryon.
Nyquist, a physical education professor from Seattle, is confident that U.S. talent can bring home more medals.
"I think we can win the gold and the silver," said Nyquist, a nine-year member on the National Archery Association Board of Governors."We have to work for what we get. We have the knowledge and the capability to do it."
Nyquist said that the top competition in the men's division will probably come from Italy and Japan.
The women's competition may not be as tough, Nyquist said. Russia and Poland may have one strong candidate, but they usually field weaker teams.
The U.S. Olympic trials will be at Miami University of Ohio June 4-7.
To qualify for the Olympic trials, a woman must post four FITA (International Archery Federation) round scores of 1,050 points or better. The point total for men is 1,100.
There are 1,440 possible points in each FITA round. The women shoot 36 arrows at each distance of 70, 60, 50 and 30 meters. Possible points range from 1-10.
The men's point system is identical, except they shoot from distances of 90, 70, 50 and 30 meters.
In the Olympic trials, each competitor will shoot two full FITA rounds, the same as the Olympic requirements. The top two scorers will visit Moscow.