The 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow were the third since archery’s reintroduction to the Olympic programme in 1972.

It was a strange period in history. Amid tensions between the Soviet Union and NATO countries, the USA was among the teams to boycott the 1980 Games – and many of archery’s modern strong squads from Eastern Europe did not then exist.

Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and, importantly for this story, Georgia were all part of the Soviet Union, which hosted the Olympics.

Ketevan Losaberidze was 31 years of age when the Games in Moscow were held.

Born in Tkibuli, a mining town in the mountainous middle of Georgia, in 1949, she took up archery as a student in higher education in 1966. Her rise to competition success was fast.

She was Georgian champion in 1967 and competed as part of the region’s team in competitions across the Soviet Union – eventually being invited to join the national team in 1971.

“I won individual and team gold at the European Championships in 1972. At the Olympic Games in Munich, I was fourth, and only one point behind third,” recalls Ketevan.

Munich 1972 brought archery’s much-heralded return to the biggest sporting event in the world and Losaberidze finished just off the podium – behind another Soviet archer in Emma Gapchenko.

One year later, and less than seven years since she started archery, Ketevan won a team world title and the Soviet Union’s national championships.

“That same year, I got married and stopped practising sport actively. I started to work at Tbilisi State University in the department of mathematics,” she says.

“But I always felt nostalgia. I was full of energy and strength so, in 1978, I returned to the sport. I always aspired to the main goal of any athlete: to climb the top step of the Olympic podium.”

The Soviet archery team for Moscow would consist of two men and two women.

Natalia Butuzova, who currently coaches the women in Germany, was the favourite. Ketevan ranked second but, two weeks before the Olympics, the coaches decided to replace her with Olga Rogova.

“This really outraged me. According to the rules, we had to shoot control competitions. With a huge advantage, I won them – and I kept that attitude until the Games themselves,” says Ketevan.

The Olympics in Moscow were decided on a double 1440 Round (or double FITA, as it was known back then).

Women shot 36 arrows at each of four distances – 70, 60, 50 and 30 metres – for each of the two rounds. The competition took four days and the total score at the end of the fourth day would decide the winner.

Only four women shot more than 1200 points for the first round. Butuzova was one of them, in second with 1251, and Ketevan was another, sitting in first on 1257 points.

“In the second half of the fourth day of competition, during shooting at the last short distance, the weather deteriorated sharply. A real storm began with heavy rain,” recalls Ketevan.

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