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No Straight Shot To Olympics For U.S. Archer Janet Dykman

July 31, 1996

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) _ Janet Dykman’s road to the top U.S. finish in women’s archery at the Olympics was far from a straight shot.

After participating in archery in high school, Dykman had practically given up the sport by the time, at the age of 30, she attended the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

That got her hooked again, and on Wednesday she was good enough to face the hottest archer at the games.

Dykman won two matches and advanced to the round of 16 before being losing 156-149 to Wang Xiaozhi of China, who on Monday had upset Lina Herasymenko of Ukraine, the tournament’s top-ranked player.

``It’s really hard to be disappointed,″ said Dykman, from El Monte, Calif. ``The experience, and even just before the Olympics, all of those years. It’s the journey getting here. This is the fun part.″

Dykman’s unlikely Olympic pursuit didn’t start until 1984. Since the Summer Games were close to her home, she attended the archery and other events that year.

``I got absorbed into that Olympic feeling and that fever,″ she said. ``And to see a sport I had done before that you could actually do something like that and possibly get into this part of it ... that’s a neat dream.″

So more than a dozen years after her last competitive match, Dykman started shooting again.

``I wasn’t really thinking I could be at this caliber,″ she said. ``But you get some of those minor accomplishments and you really start to see other dreams that you can accomplish.″

By 1992, she had become only the third American woman to shot a 1,300 series and was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team. Last year, she won four medals at the Pan Am Games _ individual gold, team gold, 50- and 30-meter silvers.

Dykman was trying Wednesday to become the first U.S. woman to win an individual medal since Luann Ryon’s gold at Montreal in 1976. But she fell behind early and never recovered, including a 6 on the third of her 18 shots.

``The feeling was just not there. After a few shots, I wasn’t getting that response that you usually do when you’re right on,″ she said. ``I don’t feel that I flinched or did anything to shoot a bad shot. Maybe, I was being just a little too careful.″

Wang built an eight-point lead with three arrows left. Dykman was able to gain two points with a 9, but both archers then hit 9s on their 17th shots to clinch the match for Wang.

Dykman now is looking at the 2000 Olympics.

``After this, I’d like to think about that,″ she said. ``I didn’t make this my ending thing, I didn’t want this to be a finale because that would have put way too much pressure on it. I can’t imagine not shooting.″

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