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home : columnists : columnists August 17, 2017


8/5/2017 4:00:00 AM
Our own Olympian inspires archers
The Times photo by Betsy ReasonHamilton County’s Stephanie Amick, a 2004 Olympian, practices her archery skills at Koteewi Range in Noblesville.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Hamilton County’s Stephanie Amick, a 2004 Olympian, practices her archery skills at Koteewi Range in Noblesville.


By Betsy Reason
Editor


Young archers today might not recognize Stephanie Amick as she walks down the field at Grand Park.

The Fishers resident, a 1996 Hamilton Southeastern High School grad and who is 32 weeks pregnant, is a 2004 archery Olympian.

She is volunteering at USA Archery's Outdoor Nationals awards ceremony today at Grand Park in Westfield.

The 39-year-old laughed when I asked her about her celebrity status, saying that other than a handful of friends who shot archery with her in 2004, most young archers wouldn't recognize her.

Amick competed in both the individual and team rounds of the Olympics in the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, Greece. It's where the first modern Olympic Games took place, in 1896. The 1906 games were also at the stadium, the only one in the world that has hosted three Olympics.

"The 2004 Olympics was a spectacular experience," said Amick, who lived in the Olympic Village for three weeks. I met Amick earlier this year during a Visit Indiana Rally, presented by Midwest Living, at Koteewi Range in Noblesville.

I caught up with her this week to reminisce about her Olympic experience and her passion for archery as she prepared to volunteer for this week's Outdoor Nationals, the first-ever archery competition at Grand Park, with more than 1,000 archers who competed Wednesday through Friday. Today, the U.S. Open Finals, a ticketed event, is open to the public.

Amick didn't overnight become a Katniss Everdeen. (Katniss was a fictional character, protagonist and highly skilled archer in "The Hunger Games trilogy.") But loving the sport was in her blood. Her father was involved in the sport from a young age as a competitive archer. Her dad and mom owned an archery range when she was young. Her dad then got into coaching.

While she pursued volleyball as a youngster and went on to play through college, she didn't return to the bow and arrow until after graduating from Taylor University in 2000, when she needed a competitive outlet.

"I picked archery back up again because I thought it would be something fun for my dad and I to do together, good father-daughter bonding, if you will," she said. "He was my coach and a great one. We practiced a lot, tweaked equipment and got ready for tournaments. It took me a few years before I really found my stride and started finishing in the Top 10 at tournaments, including the year leading up to the Olympic Trials."

Amick said, "I got to Olympic level by hard work, mental toughness, faith and a good support system by my side."

Competing as "Stephanie White-Arnold," she placed second in the Olympic Trials, "and they took three women and three men that year to the Olympics," she said. Amick finished 36th in the women's individual ranking round with a 72-arrow score of 623 and was a member of the 13th-place American women's archery team in the 2004 Olympics.

"I used a PSE recurve bow in the Olympics, painted red, white and blue with Easton X10 arrows, Sureloc sight and Cavalier archery rest and tab."

She currently works in fundraising at Butler University while being a health and fitness coach and personal trainer. "I love all things health and fitness and think my athletic backgrounds sets me apart from other coaches and trainers."

Amick said there are questions that young archers always seem to ask her.

"Did you meet anyone famous at the Olympics?"

Amick: "Not really."

"Can you shoot an apple off someone's head?"

Amick: "Ha, ha. No."

But she did demonstrate her archery skills on the Jay Leno Show when she got to shoot an arrow at actress Betty White's head, who was actually on the other side of glass.

Now at 32 weeks pregnant, she isn't shooting the bow and arrow this weekend, but she will offer any tips to any youngsters who want to know more about the sport. "Life has changed for me after having two kids because my family comes first, along with my full-time job. I will always be an advocate for the sport of archery because it's such a great activity for people of all ages and athletic ability," she said.

She said while her 11-year-old son does a little shooting, he hasn't yet pursued competitions but she will fully support him if he does.

Amick said, "It doesn't matter how fast you can run, how high you can jump or how much you weigh, you can have great success in the sport."

She was thrilled to see the archery event come to Grand Park. "I think it's fantastic to have the Outdoor Nationals right here in my backyard."

The Olympian also applauded Koteewi Range for its target field, 3-D range and practice facility. "This archery park is really unique," Amick said. "There really aren't any like this in the region in the Midwest.... We are really fortunate to have this here."

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.







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