Alison Williamson - Young Hopeful
Williamson seemed to be born to practice archery. Both her parents were archers, and her father gave her her first bow when she was seven. By age nine she had entered her first competition. At fourteen she became a junior international representing the British Junior Team while still attending school in Church Stretton. Her long streak of successful results was soon to emerge in international competition. She made her senior BG Team debut in 1988 and a year later ranked third in the Junior European Championships.
In 1991, she received a sports scholarship to Arizona State University and became the first British athlete to win an archery scholarship to an American university. She would graduate four years later with a degree in social work.
The first of Williamson's Olympic appearances was Barcelona in 1992, where, at age twenty, she was billed as Britain's young hopeful. Reaching the quarter finals, she placed an overall eighth. That same year she ranked second in the European Championships and was awarded the Moet and Chandon Young Sportwoman of the Year. Two more competitions followed in 1993: the World Indoor Championships in which she placed fifth, and the Arizona Cup International where she came in at the top.
Breaking records and improving her skills, in 1994 she again ranked first in both the Vegas Shoot and at the US Collegiate Championship where she won with a score of 579 in singles 18m. In the Olympic round competition of 1994, Williamson broke the world record with a score of 651 in seventy-two arrows, and achieved a European record score of 165 in eighteen arrows.
Although Williamson ranked only tenth at the Atlanta Olympics of 1996, she continued to shine in European competition. She placed first in the Tournament of Nations in Germany, and second place at the European Grand Prix. Two years later in 1998, she achieved a British record at the European Indoor Championships, and came in at a European record ninth place at the Czech Republic Grand Prix that same year.
Her best year was 1999 with a silver medal win at the World Championships in Riom, France, a gold medal at the Cyprus European Grand Prix, a European record performance at the Grand Prix in Turkey, and third place in the team competition at the European Field Championships in Slovenia. At the Cyprus games, she performed her best twelve arrows score of 113. In 2000, she placed second at the Arizona Cup USA.