TORONTO -- U.S. archer Brady Ellison was not happy with the way the Pan American Games men's individual gold medal match went Saturday against Mexico's Luis Alvarez. Not because of the way he shot his arrows but by the scoring system; Ellison scored more overall points but lost anyway.
"I outshot the guy by 11 points," he said. "We're a score-based system where you can miss and win -- and that's what happened. I don't agree with it and it's probably one of the reasons I'll be done with this sport unless it changes. It's kind of B.S. in my opinion. You can't make that big a mistake in the gold-medal match and win. He shot well the other sets. But you miss and win, I disagree with that."
Since 2010, recurve archery has used a system somewhat like tennis, with the winner determined by the number of sets won, not the overall score. The archer who scores the highest number of points wins the set and in Saturday's final, the one who won the best-of-five sets captured the match.
Alvarez won the first two sets Saturday, 28-27 and 30-29. Ellison won the third set 30-25 to make it 2-1 heading into the fourth. Each archer has a time limit to make a shot, and Alvarez just missed the deadline on one of his shots in the fourth set.
"I was like, 'Damn, I missed,'" Alvarez said. "I was like, 'You can do it, You can to it. Uhhhh, let it go, let it go!' I was one second late but it was OK. Let's go for the next set."
Alvarez won the final set 29-27 to take the gold over Ellison, who had 141 overall points to Alvarez's 130.
While no one complains about the set system in tennis, Ellison says it's different in his sport.
"You can get beat love in tennis and come back but if you hit the ball to a certain spot in the court you don't get a 10. You just beat the guy," he said.
Alvarez, meanwhile, said that's just the way it is.
"A lot of people said that a running score is better. Because I just missed a shot and I still win. How can an archer that missed one arrow win?" he said. "It's two sides of the same coin. But in the end, the set system requires more concentration. If my shot was to miss, the other archer has no pressure because I already will lose by shooting a miss. But the set system helps you make a bad shot and recover in the next one and that's more competitive.
"Some archers say it's not OK, some archers say it's good. But in the end, competition is like that. It was good."
Ellison says the World Archery Federation likes the set system because it is more spectator friendly. He doesn't disagree with that view but still has issues with a set system versus overall score.
"The athletes don't like it because you never like it when you outshoot on score and still lose," he said. "It goes both ways. I've won matches where I had the lower score, too, but I didn't go into the next match happy about it.
"A lot of us don't like it but it's the game we play and not much we can do about it. You either shut up or get out."
And he says he is considering that. The former No. 1-ranked archer and two-time Olympian said he might leave recurve archery after the 2016 Olympics if the scoring system doesn't change.
"I've been thinking about it since we went to sets in the team rounds. It's taken away our world records, and fun toward shooting," Ellison said. "A lot of my contracts are up in 2016 so unless something changes or I get some really big contract, I'll probably go back to compound."