Kang Chae-young of South Korea shoots an arrow during the final of the women's archery team event at the Tokyo Olympics at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo on Sunday. (Yonhap)
At only 25, South Korean archer Kang Chae-young has already been through more than her share of ups and downs, with one particularly gut-wrenching moment sticking out.
At the national team trials for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Kang finished one point behind Chang Hye-jin for the third and final spot. The two embraced and cried in each other's arms -- Kang upset at her loss and Chang feeling terrible for an archer nine years her junior.
Chang went on to win two gold medals in Rio, sweeping up the individual and the team titles. Kang finally made her own Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer, and with the team gold medal in her bags on Sunday, Kang now has a chance to join Chang on a long list of double archery gold medalists from South Korea.
Kang, An San and Jang Min-hee won the women's team gold over the Russian Olympic Committee by the set sore of 6-0 on Sunday at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in the Japanese capital.
This was South Korea's ninth consecutive gold medal in the women's archery team event, tying the Olympic record for the longest winning streak in a single event.
Kang had to go through an extra round of qualification to make it to Tokyo. She had been in position to make the team in 2020 but then the Olympics got pushed back by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the new year, the Korea Archery Association decided to stage a fresh round of trials instead of keeping those who would have qualified in 2020 on the board.
It didn't ultimately matter to Kang, who won the 2021 trials.
With the mixed team event added to the program in Tokyo, archers now had a chance to win three gold medals at a single Olympics for the first time. Kang herself had said her goal was to win all three gold medals up for grabs in Tokyo.
Kang never got that chance, because her teammate An won the individual ranking round on Friday and got to represent the country in the mixed team event.
But Kang can still collect two gold medals like Chang did in 2016. Two out of three won't be too shabby, either, especially for someone who's come as far as Kang has.
The individual event begins Tuesday, with the final set for Friday. (Yonhap)