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Monday, August 23, 1999 Published at 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK


Geena misses Olympics target

Bowing out: Oscar-winner Genna misses Sydney Olympics

The Olympic flame is still burning in the heart of Hollywood actress Geena Davis despite failing to qualify for the Sydney 2000 US archery team.

The Thelma and Louise star got as far as the semi-finals in the selection process - just two years after taking her first lesson.

[ image: Spotlight: Media attention didn't help Geena's cause]
Spotlight: Media attention didn't help Geena's cause
The 43-year-old came 24th out of 28 women in a qualifying competition held in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

"I think I did well. I was very happy," said Davis, who needed to finish in the top 16 to make the qualifying final.

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

"It's tough for us because we never get to practise in the rain in California," Rabska said. "It caught her a little off guard."

Davis also said the first serious media attention in her two years as an archer distracted her a bit.

"I was ill-prepared for this onslaught," she added. "It was like being at a premiere."

But there was praise from her fellow competitors. "She's come farther in two years than most people do in five or six," said Janet Barrs of Phoenix - a 12-year veteran.

Janet Dykman, 45, a 1996 Olympian, who has shot with Davis in California, said she thought the media attention has not helped the star.

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

Other archery enthusiasts say Davis's participation is giving much-needed recognition to a little-known sport.

[ image: Commitment: Six hours of practice a day for Geena]
Commitment: Six hours of practice a day for Geena
"A lot of people think archery, and they think hunting and stuff," said 22-year-old Jessica Carlson.

The Oscar-winner only took up archery two years ago after seeing a television report on 1996 Olympic gold medalist Justin Huish.

"Archery attracted my imagination," she said. Davis told reporters she would continue to pursue the sport, which she practises four to six hours a day between film assignments.

"My goal continues to be to become as good as I can get," she said.

"Everything I do I get intense about," she admitted. The former model is also a cartoonist, belongs to Mensa, and plays drums and flute.

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