LONDON -- Archery matches are typically close at the elite level. Still, it's hard to imagine a contest being decided by such a narrow margin as the U.S. men's team victory over Japan in this afternoon's Olympic quarterfinals.
The Americans survived, 220-219. The difference was like splitting a hair, and it was an arrow from Elma's Jake Kaminski that provided the margin in a thrilling, comeback victory. Kaminski shot a 10 midway through the match that was near the 9 and originally ruled a 9 by the judges.
But moments later, the shot was changed to a 10. A measurement determined it had made it into the middle area of the yellow bullseye, the 10-point score, by one millimeter. So the favored Americans, who started slowly and were down by three points at one stage, moved on to face South Korea later in the afternoon in the semifinals.
Kaminski had a particularly rough start. He shot a 7, about a low a score as you'll see at this level, on the fourth of his eight arrows. Things were looking grim for the U.S. until Japan's threesome faltered late, shooting back-to-back 8's in the next-to-last round to fall behind by two points.
Brady Ellison, the top-ranked player in the world, shot a 10 to put the Americans ahead by 29 points in the final round of three arrows. When Japan's leadoff man hit an 8, it was mathematically over -- that is, once the judges made their final ruling on Kaminski's borderline 10.