U.S. women archers hope crowd in Ogden this Thursday will propel them to the Olympics
OGDEN — Not everyone can represent the United States in an Olympic Games.
But anyone can give an assist to Olympic archery hopefuls this Thursday afternoon in Ogden. The U.S. team, in particular, is hoping fans will show up and offer them the kind of home-court advantage that will propel them into the 2012 London Games in August.
While the men's team has already qualified, this will be the last chance for America's women's team. The athletes are confident, but only because they've prepared well for this week's USA World Cup competition being held at the Golden Spike Arena in Ogden.
"We think they will qualify," said Teresa Iaconi, spokeswoman for USA Archery. "They've been working extremely hard in practice, team training camps. They've been scoring together; they've trained as thoroughly as they can. This is an amazing group of women competing for the U.S."
The U.S. women's team is led by 19-year-old Miranda Leek (Des Moines, Iowa), who has already qualified to represent the U.S. as an individual.
"She's an absolute powerhouse," said Iaconi. "She won her first national senior title in 2012, and she's currently ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 9 in the world. … She's extremely accomplished internationally."
Khatuna Lorig, meanwhile, is a native of the Republic of Georgia who has been shooting for the U.S. team since 2008. She is trying to qualify for her fifth Olympic Games, and she's previously won an Olympic bronze in the team event. She also coached actress Jennifer Lawrence for her role as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games."
The third member of the team is two-time Olympian Jennifer Nichols of Cheyenne, Wyo.
"They must finish in the top 3 in the final of an Olympic-qualifying tournament," said Iaconi of what the U.S. women must do to earn a trip to London along with their male counterparts. "We're thinking it's an advantage to be here in Ogden. We're asking the public to come out and cheer beginning at 3 p.m. It's free, and we're hoping everybody will get loud and let them know they love and support them so we can take advantage of that home-court advantage."
The fans sit right behind the archers, and they can hear and appreciate the cheering.
"We'd love that," said Iaconi.
The U.S. archery program has flourished since KiSik Lee was hired as the national team coach in 2006.
"He's worked hard on our athlete development program, and he's helped the men's team reach the No. 1 ranking," she said. "We feel the same success that we've had on the men's side is starting to translate on the women's side."
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