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Californian Wins Archery Gold

AP Sports Writer
Thursday, August 1, 1996 8:30 pm EDT

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) -- Justin Huish is a self-proclaimed California kid, with a ponytail hanging from under a backwards cap and eyes peering through mirrored sunglasses. He's also an Olympic archery champion.

Huish, who often practices by shooting across the street and through his garage, had consecutive 10s to open the men's gold medal match and never trailed Thursday in a 112-107 victory over Sweden's Magnus Petersson.

And in a sport where the loudest sounds usually are the whoosh of the arrows, this dude's performance was anything but quiet and serene.

During the medals round, the 21-year-old Huish pumped his fists and waved his arms to encourage a cheering home crowd of more than 5,000.

``I had too much energy and I had to get it out somehow, and that was a way for me to release it,'' said Huish of Simi Valley, Calif. ``Every time they cheered for me, they gave me the score I needed. I wanted to get them back involved with it and make it feel like they were down there shooting with me.''

But the nervous energy he felt never showed in his performance. He become the fifth American to win an individual gold medal since 1972. The last was Jay Barrs at the 1988 Seoul Games.

South Korea's Oh Kyo-moon won the bronze medal with a 115-110 victory over Belgium's Paul Vermieren. In the quarterfinals, Oh hit a 10 on his final arrow to beat teammate Kim Bo-ram 114-113.

Butch Johnson of Woodstock, Conn., also advanced to the round of 16 but, shooting in heavy rain, he lost 162-160 to South Korea's Jang Yong-ho in his only match of the day.

In the afternoon after the rains had cleared, Huish got into the semifinals by winning a tiebreaker against 19-year-old Michele Frangilli of Italy. Tied at 112 after 12 arrows, both players hit 10s on the first tiebreaker. After Frangilli hit a 9, Huish clinched the match with another bullseye, smack in the golden dot.

``It was just like someone hooked me up to a plug in the wall, it was electrifying,'' Huish said. ``I tried to keep my composure enough to get my sight on the gold. If I saw a golden thing, I let it rip.''

It's not just his look that is somewhat unorthodox for archery. So are Huish's training methods on days he is ``feeling lazy'' and doesn't want to drive to the nearest archery range an hour away from his home.

``I like to get some distance between me and the target,'' Huish said. ``So I shoot from the neighbor's lawn, across the street, up the driveway, through the garage, out the back people door, across the backyard onto a hill onto a target.''

His dog, Bear, stays low and Huish gets more distance between him and the target, but still less than the 70 meters of an Olympic range.

In his previous match, Prangilli had set an Olympic 18-arrow match record with a 170 in a victory against Stanislav Zabrodsky of the Ukraine. That broke the record 169 that Huish had tied in his first match of the day.

After the match against Prangillie, those in the medals round were never that close.

After three arrows against Vermieren, Huish already had a three-point lead. He led 83-77 before closing the match with a 9 and consecutive 10s.

In the gold-medal match, Huish extended his lead after each three-arrow end. He clinched the gold while Petersson still had one arrow in his bag.

The rainy conditions in the morning had an effect on Johnson.

``It's kind of a guessing game on where to aim,'' Johnson said. ``I took a couple of shots, lost a few points trying to figure it out. I was okay after the first three arrows and I kind of figured out where I wanted to be.''

Johnson, who turns 41 later this month, said he likely will try out for his third Olympics in 2000.

First, he and Huish will try to lead the Americans to another gold medal. Team competition is Friday.

© Copyright 1996 The Associated Press

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