It's team sports that 14-year-old Denise Parker misses most during her long hours of training for a chance to compete in the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, as a member of the U.S. Archery Team.
A self-described tomboy who prefers sports equipment to dolls and stuffed animals, she first joined a soccer team at age 6 after rejecting attempts to interest her in piano or ballet lessons.Four years later, Parker took up archery and soon was winning against much older and more experienced competitors. Her days of competing with her classmates were over.
She did make an attempt recently to fit softball practice into her long days of training, school and competitions but had to quit because there was never enough time.
Now her participation in school sports is limited to her favorite eighth-grade class, gym. But her classmates needn't worry about her stealing the show archery is one sport they don't learn.
"It's kind of dangerous if you don't know what you're doing," Parker said.
The young athlete is making a lot of sacrifices toward her goal of winning an Olympic gold medal to go with the pair she won at the 1987 Pan American Games. So is her family.
The Deseret News has established a fund in Parker's name to help pay for her training and competition expenses. All contributions will be administered through the National Archery Association to maintain her amateur status.
Contributions should be mailed to the Denise Parker Olympic Fund, c/o Key Bank of Utah, Salt Lake City UT 84189-0021, or can be deposited at any of Key Bank's 30 locations throughout the state.
For more information, call 237-2135.