- 29 Apr 08, 09:00 AM
If I was given a fiver whenever someone said the name Robin Hood after learning of my association with archery, then I would have long since become a multi-millionaire.
It's such a cliché - but that's not to say that the archery fraternity under-estimate the power of the aforementioned outlaw. When the BBC series was launched 18 months ago, there was a dramatic burst in interest in archery - just as there was as each of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was launched. Nice one Legolas!
But what people really react to is success. And over the past few years, British international archers have done us all proud. The initial trigger to this was Alison Williamson (pictured) winning the bronze medal in the women's individual tournament at the Athens Olympics four years ago.
It was Alison's fourth Olympics, and winning a medal was a great reward for her excellence and consistency over many years. And thereafter, the phonelines at GNAS headquarters at Lilleshall went bonkers. So much so that an extra member of staff was hired to cope with the demand, and suddenly taking up archery became cool!
Since then, GB archers have won gold, silver and bronze medals all over the world, including last year's World Championships in Leipzig. Alan Wills won the individual mens' bronze, and then took silver in the team event, with Simon Terry and Larry Godfrey, while the women's trio of Williamson, Naomi Folkard and Charlotte Burgess won the bronze. Wills, by the way, then went on to win bronze at the Archery World Cup Grand Final in Dubai last November, to complete a fabulous year all round.
Olympic year has already started well, with medals at the European Indoor Championships in Turin last month. And in the meantime, interest at archery continues to climb to new highs, with membership of the GNAS now past the 30,000 mark, and at record levels.
So Britain has much to be proud of in its elite archers, and I am happy to be the cheerleader in chief. And in this Olympic year, I have every confidence that archery will achieve the profile and plaudits it deserves.
I am delighted to be given the opportunity to bring you news of the trials and tribulations, the twists and the turns, the highs and the lows in the countdown to Beijing. You don't achieve at the Olympics without the proverbial blood, sweat and tears - and rest assured, our archers are fully focused on the task at hand!
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