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Archery became Olympian’s family sport

BEIJING (BP)–Archery is more than a sport for U.S. Olympic archer Jennifer Nichols. It’s a family activity.

When Jennifer, the oldest of five children, was 12, her father Brent bought bows for her and two of her siblings.

Brent thought archery would be a good way for the family to spend more time together. So the kids began shooting arrows in their front yard in Cheyenne, Wyo., with Brent teaching them whatever he could about the sport.

The Nichols kids eventually got involved in junior archery clubs, and Jennifer began to excel. She is now the top women’s recurve archer in the country and is making her second appearance in the Olympics. The entire family will be with Nichols in Beijing to watch her compete.

Togetherness has been a priority for the Nichols family for as long as Jennifer can remember. Jennifer’s mother Cheryl is a stay-at-home mom who has homeschooled all of her children. Brent moved his business to the house to be able to spend more time with his family.

“I know that my parents both have made great sacrifices for us to spend as much time together as possible and have really pursued personal relationships with each of us kids,” Jennifer said.

Because her parents placed such an emphasis on family, that priority has transferred to Jennifer. She’s not entirely sure what the future holds, but she thinks after Beijing it may be time for a change, and that competitive archery no longer will be her focus.

She’s considering college, but Jennifer knows for certain what her long-term aspirations are.

“My goal is to be a wife and a mother,” she said. “I really see that as the highest calling that a woman can rise to. I hope that I can one day have family.”
Tim Ellsworth, director of news and media relations at Union University, is covering the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for Baptist Press.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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