Davis Misses Olympic Target

Actress Geena Davis lost her bid to be an Olympic archer, but she said she loves the challenge and will try again in four years.

"I think I did well. I was very happy," Davis said Saturday after finishing 24th out of 28 women competing in the U.S. Olympic trial semifinals.

Davis, 43, who made it to the semifinals just two years after taking her first archery lesson, finished 24th out of 28 competitors. The top 16 archers advanced to Sunday's second.

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."

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 said. "It was like being at a premier."

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 40 movie fans who watched from behind a rope, hoping to catch a glimpse of the actress.

Davis said she loves to challenge herself and wants to stay with archery "to see how good I can get." She said she will try out for the Olympics again in four years.

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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