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February 21, 2012

USA Archery: Investing in Women

Chula Vista, CA - On the eve of the fifth International Olympic Committee World Conference on Women and Sport, USA Archery has released an update on its first-ever Women's Excellence Program (WXP). Fittingly, the theme of the Conference was "Together Stronger: The Future of Sport," and the women participating in the WXP are focused on exactly that. 

The first of three Women's Excellence Program camps was held recently at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center. The sixteen women who comprise the "Shadow Team" - the top sixteen women following the first U.S. Olympic Team Trials event - were invited to participate.

Twelve archers attended the first camp, which was staffed by six coaches and a sport psychologist. Two personal coaches also attended to support their students. The program, which was developed to create a sense of unity for the U.S. women, was also designed to provide the means for the top women's recurve athletes to work together to become an internationally dominant team.

"I learned that the U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as USA Archery, are one hundred percent behind the women," commented Lori Cieslinski, a Shadow Team member who participated in the camp. "The experience was different from anything I have ever been through�it was nice to see how similar our goals are. That we all believe that we can do this, and that we will be supported to that end." 

The first camp - part of a three-camp series - focused on team building, communication and increasing competition experiences in a variety of situations. KiSik Lee, the U.S. National Head Coach, and International Team Staff were available to provide technical direction and help for the athletes involved.

"The first camp went extremely well, and it was incredible to see how the women came together," noted Assistant Head Coach Guy Krueger. "I was especially impressed by the grit, determination and support they displayed during the team competition on the last day. The weather was just miserable, wet and rainy, and every team completed the task and supported each other in the process. It was a very inspirational day."

Jennifer Nichols, a two time Olympian seeking her third Olympic team placement, echoed Cieslinski's thoughts: "This camp was the best training program I have ever been a part of at the Olympic Training Center," Nichols stated. "The USA women have needed focus, motivation and cohesion in the sense of teamwork for a long time�the culture of the U.S. women's recurve is beginning to change positively and we are all ecstatic to be part of this transformation. We have all realized that together we are strong, and we can accomplish that which we never have before when we work as one." 

The second Women's Excellence Program Camp is scheduled for March 17-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. 

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