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Ku, who won the team gold with the Republic of Korea on 6 August, survived two nail-biting tiebreaks in the quarter-finals and semi-finals before fending off Valladont to win 7-3 at the Sambodromo.
I’m so happy,” said Ku, who along with his coach bowed to the crowd after his victory. “It's the most respectful way to give thanks to the spectators who cheered for me.”
Ku admitted that his coach had played a key part in the win, particularly his motivational talk before the match. “He said, ‘You're not focusing on your arrows, you're thinking about the other guy's arrows and the score, just focus on what you do’.”
The Republic of Korea became the third NOC after Belgium (8) in 1920 and USA (6) in 1904 to collect at least four gold medals in archery in a single edition of the Olympic Games. Ku’s victory also saw him become the second archer, after Justin Huish (USA) in 1996, to win both the men's team and men's individual golds at a single Games.
Valladont clinched France's first archery medal since Sebastien Flute's gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
American Brady Ellison, edged by Ku in a thrilling semi-final, won his second medal of the Games by defeating Dutchman Sjef Van den Berg in the bronze playoff.
“I was pushing for gold but I had a bad shot, so I'm bringing home the bronze,” said Ellison. “I wasn't in the match [semi-final]. I knew if I wanted to come home with a medal that I needed to get in gear and get into this match. I shot 30 to get ahead and he opened the door for me. Thankfully, I was able to get through it.”