In a roundabout way Alison Williamson first became an Olympic Champion in her teens. Raised in Shropshire she won the archery competition at the Wenlock Olympian Games, that early forerunner of the modern Olympic revival. The daughter of two competitive archers, she first picked up a bow at the age of seven and at fourteen made her début for the British junior team. She entered Arizona State University in 1991 as the first Briton to receive an archery scholarship from an American University, she and made her Olympic début the following year in Barcelona.
Williamson’s career now stretches over twenty years and she has been a regular competitor at all major championships since the early nineties. She was the runner-up at the 1999 FITA World Championships and the winner of a team bronze eight years later in 2007. Her bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games was the first won by a British female archer in 96 years. After considering retirement in the wake of a disappointing Beijing Olympics she elected to carry on competing and won two silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She was selected for the 2012 London Olympics and equalled together with Mary Thomson-King, Tessa Sanderson’s British female record of six Olympic appearances. In 2014, at the age of 42, and a teacher in Stafford at the time, Richardson announced her retirement, and with it the chance to appear in a record seven Olympics.
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