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Davis Loses Bid for Archery Team

August 21, 1999

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (AP) _ Actress Geena Davis lost her bid to qualify for the U.S. Olympic archery team in Saturday’s semifinal competition, finishing 24th in the 28-person field.

Davis, 43, made it to the semifinals just two years after taking her first archery lesson. In order to advance to Sunday’s second day of the semifinal round, she would have had to finish in the top 16.

Her coach, Don Rabska, said she was having trouble adapting to the rain.

``It’s tough for us because we never get to practice in the rain in California,″ Rabska said. ``It caught her a little off guard.″

The star of ``Thelma and Louise″ and ``The Accidental Tourist″ _ for which she won an Oscar in 1988 _ was inspired to take up archery after watching Justin Huish win two gold medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Few people knew of Davis’ hobby until she finished 29th out of 300 women in Ohio to qualify for the Olympic semifinals. On Saturday, reporters blanketed this small suburban park along with about 20 movie fans.

Janet Dykman, 45, a 1996 Olympian, and Denise Parker, a two-time Olympian, were among the group to advance, while Huish was among the 16 men to advance.

Dykman has shot with Davis in California and said she thinks the media attention has been a little distracting to the actress.

``We’ve kept it pretty low-key for her, and this is the first time it’s exploded for her like this,″ Dykman said.

Others archery enthusiasts say Davis’ participation is giving needed recognition to a little-known sport.

``A lot of people think archery, and they think hunting and stuff,″ said archer Jessica Carlson, 22.

The field of competitors will drop to eight by Monday; they will compete next month in California for three team spots and one alternate spot at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

U.S. Olympic Committee officials knew of no other actor who has gone on to the Olympics, although some Olympic athletes, like swimmer Johnny Weismuller, went on to make movies.

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