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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Godfrey aims to inspire
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Laurence Godfrey

Larry Godfrey is hoping some Lord of the Rings magic will help inspire Britain's Olympic archers to even greater success in Beijing four years from now.

Godfrey narrowly failed to give Team GB a second surprise archery medal on Thursday after Alison Williamson had claimed bronze in the women's event.

And he believes a new generation of crackshot archers could emerge as they try to emulate Legolas, the bow-wielding elf from the Lord of the Rings trilogy played by Orlando Bloom.

"Quite a few people are starting to take notice of archery," Godfrey, who lost in the bronze medal play-off, told BBC Sport.

"Since the Lord of the Rings came out we have had lots of beginners wanting to do it - kids and adults.

"Hopefully from what we have done here at the Olympic Games we will get more support, funding and sponsorship so we can put more into our athletes to get gold medals."

Godfrey, who is the only man on the British team, has to fit in his practice around his job as an aerospace repair design engineer at Rolls Royce in Bristol.

Williamson is a primary school teacher, team-mate Helen Palmer is a marketing manager at the Alliance & Leicester building society and Naomi Folkard is a music student.

"We have accomplished a bronze medal and a fourth place from people who work and who do it off their own back," continued Godfrey.

"We have squad sessions four or five times a year and that's only for a couple of days. That is the extent of our training - plus what we do ourselves.

"The sport does get a limited amount of lottery funding, and of course we're grateful for that, but personally I don't get any.
Alison Williamson
Alison Williamson claimed bronze in the women's event

"I work 7am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday and then come home and find time to fit in three and a half hours of training.

"I'm up against professional athletes and I've got to go back to work after the closing ceremony."

Godfrey, nicknamed Popeye by his friends, was desperately close to becoming a lord of the Olympic rings at the historic Panathinaiko stadium.

Ranked 31st out of 64, he led by three points at the halfway mark of his semi-final against eventual gold medallist Marco Galiazzo of Italy.

But his chance of glory slipped away when a loose arrow gave him just six points, and the eventual champion finished with three perfect 10s.

Godfrey was then pipped for bronze by one point by Australian teenager Tim Cuddihy, who had equalled the Olympic record before losing out in his semi-final.

But the 28-year-old was rightly proud of his fourth place.

"I've shot some fantastic arrows here and I couldn't have asked for much more," said Godfrey.

"I didn't feel any nerves for the entire tournament and I'm very pleased with myself for that. It's just a shame I was just outside the medals.

"I just hope that a lot more people back home are thinking of taking up archery as a result of what we've done here."

Links to more Archery stories



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