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Shooting for an Olympic dream
Long County native aiming for 2016 games

There’s no shortage of honors Linda Stephens has earned in her archery career. However, there’s one big one out there yet — and within reach.    
In her second year as a collegiate archer at Georgia Southern, Stephens was named as an all-American by United States Collegiate Archery.  In earning this distinction, she was one of only 10 women in the country to garner this honor.  
Stephens, who is ranked sixth nationally by the United States Archery Team, said she looks forward to moving up into the top five so that she can be a member of the team in the near future.
It’s not the first time Stephens has stood out as an archer. In 2010, when she was a senior at Long County High School, she led the county’s 4-H archery team to a state title and a bronze medal at the national competition, while she finished fourth in the individual competition.
The accolades aren’t too shabby for a girl who first picked up a bow just six years ago.
“When I was in high school, my little sister was in the 4-H Club and she liked it, so I thought it might be worthwhile, too,” Stephens said. “I started competing with the 4-H Club, and that was the start to where I am today.”
Even though Stephens has accomplished a lot in a short period of time, getting to where she is hasn’t come without hard work and sacrifice.
“I will practice at least five days a week and that usually is four to six hours a day,” she said. “But to get to where I want to be, I have to put in that time.”
Despite spending so much time on the range, Stephens also excels in the classroom. Stephens, a business management major, was named an All-Academic performer for the second year in a row for having a grade-point average of at least 3.0.
This year, Stephens competed in the Olympic Recurve U.S.A. Archery junior division for GSU. Next year, she will move up to the senior division.
Her goal still will be to compete in the Olympics.
Last year, Stephens competed at the Olympic trials, but came up a little short. She plans on being in Brazil four years from now as a member of the U.S. Archery Team.
“Rio de Janeiro, here I come. That is my ultimate goal, being on the Olympic team in 2016,” she said.
One person who believes that the archer will be on that team in 2016 is her mother, Suzanne Stephens.
“She is working hard with her archery coach to improve, and she has her eye on the Olympics in 2016. I think she can accomplish her goal,” Suzanne Stephens said.
When Linda Stephens was asked what advice she would give someone who wants to be the best at anything, she said to never give up.
“Keep on working. Things don’t just fall into your lap. Some people are going to tell you that you can’t do it, but you just keep on working, and having faith in yourself, and whatever your goal is, it will come,” she said.

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