Gabrielle Cyr’s love of archery began when she was just three-years-old, just as her family started to garner an interest in the sport. “I wanted to be like my brother Levi, who had already begun shooting competitions, so I wanted to start competing too.”
Now at only 15 years old, Gabrielle has been in over 175 competitions and counting. She has been a part of L.L.Bean’s Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) program for three years, is ranked as a Gold Olympian – JOAD’s highest ranking – and is the first member of L.L.Bean’s JOAD program to receive the distinction. “To get the award you have to shoot the X (the size of a dime) 20 out of 30 times,” says Gabrielle, “from 20 yards away.”
Gabrielle cites L.L.Bean’s program as being a huge help in developing her skills. L.L.Bean’s JOAD program is for anyone from age 8 to 20 who wants to learn archery. Participants range from first-timers to national champions. Each eight-week session helps budding archers hone their skills and perfect their shots. “Every two weeks there is a scoring round so participants can earn their way up the JOAD levels,”
Over the past few years, archery has been getting more attention thanks to films like The Hunger Games and Brave. “A lot of people at school call me ‘Katniss’ now,” she says.
Gabrielle has no plans to ever stop competing. She hopes to qualify and compete in the Junior Worlds for USA Archery and eventually compete in the Archery World Cup. “There are so many things I love about archery,” says Gabrielle. “The feeling of the perfect shot, when it just falls into the X, and also the experiences it’s given me. Experiences learning about myself and traveling to different corners of the country – those are things I would have never gotten if it weren’t for this sport.”