The 2012 Paralympic Games run August 29 – September 9, 2012. The 277 American athletes named to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team will compete in 19 sports contested throughout the 11 days of competition. Among the events will be target shooting. Profiles of Team USA’s Paralympic atheletes, including pistol shooter Eric Hollen and rifle shooter SFC Josh Olson, are provided in the official 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team Media Guide. This handy guide to the Paralympics can be downloaded for free.
Eric Hollen — Paralympic Pistol Shooter
Hollen, a former U.S. Army Ranger in the 2/75 Ranger Regiment, suffered a life-altering injury on his horse farm in Tennessee. Getting involved in competitive pistol shooting has helped Hollen adjust to life after his injury. Showing great determination, Hollen is now one of the top paralympic pistol shooters in the world. At the IPC World Cup Sydney, he won a Silver Medal in Air Pistol and a Bronze Medal in Free Pistol. Hollen is looking forward to the challenge in London: “This has been 10 years in the making and it’s an awesome opportunity to represent my country. I shoot with the best able-bodied athletes in the world here at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and I have the opportunity to now go and win my matches and that’s what I’m setting out to do.” Hollen will compete in the Men’s P1 10-meter Air Pistol event on August 30th. On September 6th, he’ll compete in the 50-meter free Pistol event.
USAMU Rifle Marksman SFC Josh Olson
While on patrol with his unit (101st Airborne Div., 3rd Brigade 1/187) in Iraq in 2003, SFC Josh Olson was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade resulting in the loss of his right leg from the hip down. After spending 18 months at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Olson was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Georgia. Olson has been a member of the Paralympic National Team for five years, but this will be the first time Olson competes at the international Paralympic Games. Olson will begin competition on Saturday, September 1 in the 10-meter Air Rifle Prone event followed by the Smallbore (.22 caliber) 50-meter Rifle Prone on Tuesday, September 4. In the video below, you can learn more about Olson’s background and courageous process of rehabilitation.
Watch Video Interview with SFC Josh Olson
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Open today’s (8/22/2012) edition of USAToday, and you’ll find a full-page ad congratulating all members of the USA Olympic Shooting Team who recently competed at the London Olympics. The ad features the four shooter-athletes who earned three gold and one bronze medals in London. This advert was sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The ad’s headline reads: “Congratulations To All Our Shooters on the U.S. Olympic Team” and continues, “Making history, setting records, showing the world the fun and excitement of the shooting sports: You’ve made us proud.”
“The National Shooting Sports Foundation is honored to be a sponsor of USA Shooting, and we are thrilled to draw even more attention with this ad to the fine men and women representing our sports on the world stage,” said Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for NSSF, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.
Four USA Shooters are featured:
Gold medalist Kim Rhode, who became the first American ever to medal in five consecutive Olympic Games and who set a new Olympic record and tied a world record in women’s skeet.
Gold medalist Vincent Hancock, who became the first skeet shooter to win that Olympic event twice and who set two Olympic records.
Gold medalist Jamie Gray, who set two Olympic records in both the final and qualification rounds of women’s 50-meter, three-position rifle.
Bronze medalist Matt Emmons, who added to his gold and silver medal tally from previous Games in the men’s 50-meter three-position rifle.
Download NSSF Where2Shoot App for iPhone
The NSSF’s USAToday Ad also gives readers an opportunity to download NSSF’s Where2Shoot App for the iPhone, which allows users to search for shooting facilities nationwide, watch video tips on hunting and shooting and keep up with news about the shooting sports. To learn more about USA Shooting visit www.usashooting.org.
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SGT Vincent Hancock of the USAMU shot a 148/150 to win the Gold Medal today in men’s skeet at the London Olympics. Hancock has now won back-to-back Golds in skeet shooting at two successive Olympics. (Hancock also won Gold at Beijing in 2008). Finishing second with a 146 score, was Anders Golding of Denmark. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiya won a shoot-off over Russia’s Valery Shomin for the bronze at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Read Related Story on ESPN.com.
After setting a new Olympic Record by hitting 123 out of 125 clays in Tuesday qualifying, Hancock entered the medal round with a one-target lead. He then shot a perfect final round score of 25 for a total of 148 out of 150, which was also a new Olympic record. He is the first men’s skeet shooter in Olympic history to win two Gold Medals.
Hancock is a “young gun” in a field of more experienced competitors. At age 23, he is the youngest in the men’s skeet competition by five years. (The average age of medal-round-qualifying skeet shooters in London is 37 years.) Hancock almost missed the 2012 Olympics altogether. After his 2008 win in Beijing, he thought seriously about retiring from the sport. But after some months considering the options, he resumed his training with a vengence and now he is on top of the world. Hancock’s victory, combined with the Gold-medal performance of team-mate Kim Rhode in women’s skeet, gives Team USA a sweep of the Skeet events at the 2012 Olympics.
Olympics Finals photos by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs.
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The 2012 Olympic Games kicked off last night in London. And the first gold meal awarded at the 2012 Game went to a shooter — Yi Siling of China. The top-ranked Chinese Air Rifle shooter edged Slywia Bogacka of Poland to win Gold in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event. The South Korean shooting squad also captured its first Gold Medal of the games as Jin Jong-oh won the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event. Jin had won silver in the last Olympics at Beijing, China.
Visit NBCOlympics.com for complete online coverage of the Olympics. On that website, in the upper left-hand corner (next to the London 2012 logo), you’ll find a “Select a Sport” button. That button opens a menu with links to all the different sports. There is a dedicated page for the Shooting Sports. CLICK HERE to visit the Shooting Sports Page at www.nbcolympics.com/shooting/.
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Forum member George (aka gcarbrera) let us know that complete Shooting Sports schedules for the 2012 London Olympic Games can now be viewed online. Olympic shooting events start on July 28, 2012 with Women’s 10m Air Rifle and Men’s 10m Air Pistol. The final rifle event, Men’s 50m 3-Position Finals, will be held August 6, 2012.
American Olympic Shooters will be able to train together as a team in Europe prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games, thanks to a contribution from Dallas Safari Club (DSC). With DSC funding, the USA Shooting Team has secured exclusive use of a shooting range in Denmark for a pre-Olympic Games Training Camp. Prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the USA Shooting Team conducted a similar camp in Korea. That move was considered a key factor behind the team’s successful showing with six medals, 12 top-5 finishes and two Olympic records. Hopefully, the Training Camp in Denmark can likewise help our shooters in their Olympic quest.
Immediately before the London Games, which begin July 27, the range in Copenhagen, Denmark, will be specifically dedicated for use by the USA Shooting Team for training around the clock in a distraction-free environment. In addition, the camp will be used to enhance team unity and commodore as well as solidify the athlete support structure.
The partnership between DSC and USA Shooting has been building for several years. DSC has provided pivotal funding to help underwrite the cost of sending emerging elite junior athletes to the World Shooting Championships and the World Clay Target Championships. With this support, USA junior team members won 10 individual medals and 10 team medals.
“We’re especially grateful for the support that Dallas Safari Club continues to provide the USA Shooting Team,” said Buddy DuVall, executive director of the USA Shooting Team Foundation. “With [the] boost they’re providing for our London-bound athletes, DSC has been a valuable team member and is raising our competitive abilities.”
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A two-time NCAA Champion from TCU, and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Sarah Scherer is profiled in the current USA Shooting News eZine. Her story makes compelling reading because Sarah had to overcome a family tragedy to achieve her goals in the shooting sports. Sarah’s older brother, Stephen, a member of the 2008 Olympic Shooting Team, took his own life in October, 2010. Brother and sister grew up shooting together. Early on, Stephen was her training partner and role model. Losing her brother was very tough, but she has not faltered in her drive to be the best, and honor Stephen’s memory.
Sarah’s coach, two-time World Champion Karen Monez, explains: “[Sarah] has the work ethic to accomplish just about anything she wants to. She doesn’t let adversity and the hardship she’s had define her. It really is more of an inspiration to others if you look at how humble she is with the success she has had, and what’s she’s had to deal with [after her brother's death].”
We will be following Sarah’s peformance in London this July, where she is one of the favorites in air rifle shooting. She has “risen to the challenge” at every stage of her shooting career so far. She has won five National Junior Olympics Shooting Medals and won gold in her first-ever World Cup Match. An All-American in both smallbore rifle and air rifle, Sarah captured the individual smallbore National Championship in 2010, and she was a member of TCU’s NCAA Championship-Winning Team in 2010 and 2012. This past winter, Sarah set a new National Record with a perfect score of 400 in the 10m Air Rifle event. We wish Sarah success, and hope she can continue her winning ways.
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Story based on Report by Gary Anderson in the CMP’s First Shot Online Magazine
The Opening Ceremony of the XXXth Summer Olympic Games will take place in London on July 27, 2012. The next morning, the first gold medal of the Games will be awarded to the winner of the Women’s Air Rifle event. That will be the first of 15 Olympic rifle, pistol and shotgun events to be contested on London’s Royal Artillery Barracks Shooting Venue during the first ten days of the Games. 390 shooters from at least 103 countries. plan to participate in Shooting competition. That number of participants places the shooting sports third among all summer Olympic sports.
Finals Range Exterior: All of the rifle and pistol ranges at the London Olympic Venue feature this same distinctive architectural style. This large structure houses the 10m/25m/50m Rifle and Pistol Finals Range.
The Olympic Shooting Venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks
The British government’s Olympic Development Authority created the Olympic Shooting Venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks at a cost of £36 million. This temporary Shooting Venue includes a combined 50m and 10m Rifle and Pistol Range, a 25m Pistol Range, a Rifle and Pistol Finals Range and a Shotgun Range with three fields. Rifle and pistol targets are electronic. Originally, Olympic shooting events were to be held at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley in Surrey, but that plan was changed after the International Olympic Committee complained about the number of sports staged outside London. So, the decision was made to create a temporary facility at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich (East London). Sadly, that means that the temporary venue will be torn down after the 2013 London Games. Three of these ranges will be moved to Glasgow, Scotland for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But otherwise the Olympic Shooting venue will disappear after the London Games. According to the BBC website: “The Woolwich venue has proved controversial within the sport as it is temporary and will be pulled down after the Games”, thereby denying UK shooters a post-Olympics legacy facility.
Finals Range Interior. This is where the top eight shooters in each rifle and pistol event compete in Finals. Top to bottom are: monitors for each shooter’s target, the 50m targets, eight finalists on the line, and the Range officer control station.
The Pre-Olympic Test Competition
In April, test competitions in London were staged as an ISSF World Cup with athletes from 100 countries participating, the most ever for an ISSF World Cup. The 800+ athletes that competed is more than double the number of shooters who will qualify for the Summer Olympics. The huge number of Test Comp shooters, plus unseasonably cold, wet, windy weather, made the World Cup a supreme test of LOCOG preparations for the Games.
Cold Weather: Headgear worn by these two finalists in the 50m 3×20 Rifle Women Final tells a lot about weather conditions during the test competition.
The Pre-Olympic Test Competition in London also served as a preview of the Olympic competitions this summer. Scores were surprisingly high considering how bad the weather was. The top medal-winning nations in the London World Cup were Russia and China with six each. Italy won five medals followed by the USA and Ukraine with four medals each. USA medal winners were Matt Emmons, 50m 3X40 Rifle Men; Kim Rhode, Skeet Women; Kayle Browning, Trap Women and Mike McPhail, 50m Prone Rifle Men. The USA Shooting Team hopes to contend for several medals in London.
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Because of draconian restrictions on handguns in the United Kingdom, Olympic smallbore pistol shooters from the UK have been forced to conduct their training in neighboring countries, such as Belgium and France. Obviously, the need to travel overseas to practice their sport has been a major handicap for UK shooters who will compete with Team GB* at the upcoming London Olympics. Said one smallbore pistol shooter: “Our goal is to win a medal for mother England, the 2012 host nation. But it is hard to compete on a world-class level when we can’t even train at home. Going overseas every time we need to practice wastes precious time and money. Other Olympic shooters don’t face these kind of obstacles.”
With the 2012 London Olympics soon approaching, UK Olympic officials have been looking at ways that Team GB pistol shooters can avoid the need to travel abroad just to practice shooting. Now, through a special act of Parliament, it appears that UK Olympic pistol shooters may finally be able to hone their marksmanship skills at home. A new law will allow qualified Olympic-level pistol shooters on Team Great Britain to import a new, non-lethal training device recently introduced in the United States. With the aid of the American-made Trigger Trainer, UK Olympic shooters can now practice their trigger-pulling skills without risking a trip to prison. The Trigger-Trainer is a plastic device with a pistol grip, and spring-loaded “trigger”. However, it is incapable of firing a projectile because it lacks a barrel, magazine, firing pin, and sights.
Some of Team GB’s shooters have expressed doubts about the usefulness of the rather primitive Trigger Trainer. (As it lacks front and rear sights, the Trigger Trainer is difficult to align precisely on the target). But top British Olympic decision-makers believe that the shooters’ complaints are unjustified. British Olympic Association official Nigel Wensleydale observed: “Complaints? That’s just idle whinging if you ask me… nothing’s perfect you know. Perhaps the Trigger Trainers do leave something to be desired as they come out of the box. But our Olympic shooters are clever lads. I think, with a little imagination and some sticky tape, these Trigger Trainers will be tip-top. Goodness, you could simply tape a drinking straw on top and sight through that. I mean how much precision do these chaps really need — the target’s only 10m away for goodness sake.”
*Great Britain is the name under which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland competes at the Olympic Games. Great Britain was one of 14 teams to compete in the first Games, the 1896 Summer Olympics, and has competed at every Games. Great Britain is the only team to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games.
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Based on their showings in 10m Air Rifle Olympic trials, four athletes have been nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team. The Men’s 10m Air Rifle nominees are two-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons and 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist Jonathan Hall. The two women nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team are Sarah Scherer and 2008 Olympian Jamie Gray. Olympic Team selection was based on the aggregate of four courses of fire and two best finals. All athletes nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team must now be approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Matt Emmons, already nominated for Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position, led the selection with a total of 2587.7 points. Matt note: “I’m happy to earn another nomination to the team and shoot another event at the Olympics. At the same time, I know the scores that I shot throughout Trials are not going to be competitive at the Games and I know what I need to do to get there.” Close behind Emmons, Jon Hall finished the 2012 Trials with 2586.7 total points. Hall, a senior at Columbus State University in Georgia, finished third in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Airgun Trials, barely missing the team in 2008. Hall said that making the 2012 Olympics team is “a relief and an exciting moment — I’ve been working towards this my whole life.”
In Women’s 10m Air Rifle, 21-year-old Sarah Scherer and 2008 Olympian Jamie Gray received nominations to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Scherer is now the second member of her family to earn an Olympic berth. Scherer’s brother, Stephen, was a member of the 2008 Team, and passed away in 2011. “Honestly, thank you Lord. Without him I could not have made it through this match,” said Scherer who battled a severe head cold throughout the weekend. “The only thing that I had left in my shooting that was still me was my focus and concentration. I couldn’t hear or see as well as normal and my heart rate was all over the place. I’m just so thankful that I made it through.”
Gray, already nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s 50m 3P Rifle, is “looking forward to shooting two events [in London].” Jamie, the wife of USAMU SSG Hank Gray, will continue her training at the USAMU’s ranges in Fort Benning, GA, as well as the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
Airgun Course of Fire Explained
In airgun competition, male and female competitors shoot 60 and 40 shots respectively during a single course of fire at electronic targets 10m (32.8 feet) down range. The maximum number of points available is 600 for men and 400 points for women with 10 being the highest score possible per shot. Athletes qualify for the finals by placing in the top eight after an aggregate match score. The final for both events consists of ten shots. The scoring in the finals is unique because decimals are counted, so the maximum number of points a competitor can earn is 109 points with 10.9 being the highest score possible per shot.
In related news, two 10m air pistol shooters secured Team nominations at the Olympic Trials held at Port Clinton, Ohio this past weekend. Now set to compete with Team USA are three-time Olympian SFC Daryl Szarenski, and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner. SFC Szarenski is the 2011 Pan-American Games Men’s 10m Air Pistol gold medalist. Daryl came into the weekend with an 18-point advantage over his nearest competitor and finished atop the standings with 2537.4 total points.
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The Modern Pentathlon is a 5-discipline Olympic event that combines Horse Riding, Running, Swimming, Fencing, and Shooting. However it looks like there won’t be real shooting anymore, at least at the 2012 London Games.
Union International de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) President Klaus Schormann declared that laser guns will be used instead of air pistols in the Modern Pentathlon at the 2012 London Olympics. Schormann claimed the lasers would enhance safety and allow “competitions in parks and even shooting malls”. Last year, UIPM officials argued for the use of lasers to reduce the environmental impact of lead pellets from air pistols. Schormann stated: “The decision to introduce non-air pistol shooting … is a significant development in terms of lowering the environmental impact of the sport.” That’s nonsense — Pentathlon air pistols fire tiny 7-grain pellets that are easily captured by bullet traps, so there is virtually no environmental risk.
Sebastian, creator of the Snowflakes in Hell Blog, observed: “The reasoning of the [UIPM] committee is disturbing. I hope this doesn’t portend bad things to come with other Olympic shooting sports, whose environmental footprint is arguably worse.” One Snowflakes Blog reader astutely commented: “It would have been trivially easy to mandate lead-free pellets, if the ‘lead poisoning’ argument were the real reason behind this change. Replacing air pistols with lasers instead of a much simpler requirement to use nontoxic shot suggests that it was the ‘gun-ishness’ of the air pistols, and not the environmental impact, that may have been the primary driver here.”
Technical Problems with Laser Systems
British pentathlete Sam Weale recently challenged the use of lasers in Modern Pentathlon. According to the Inside the Games website, Weale claims persistent technical problems with the laser shooting system have rendered Modern Pentathlon a “lottery” which threatens the integrity of the sport. Olympians can not trust the electronic scoring systems, Weale argues. “It can’t go on, it is embarrassing,” said Weale, who, along with four other atheletes, lodged a protest over malfunctioning targets at the recent European Championships.
UIPM Decision Criticized by USA Shooting & ISSF
The Outdoor Wire’s Jim Shepherd polled leading shooting sports officials and found widespread criticism of the UIPM decision to replace pistols with laser devices. According to Shepherd: “USA Shooting and International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) dislike the change. Their position is simple, the laser gun takes much out of the ‘shooting’ element of external conditions (pistol and pellet accuracy) and turns shooting ‘into an arcade game’. They view it as a possible threat to shooting, moving away from what is ‘shooting sport’.”
EDITOR’s Comment: One wonders if the UIPM’s next move will be to replace fencing foils and sabres with Wii computer-game controllers — in the interest of safety. And shouldn’t the UIPM replace Pentathletes’ four-legged equine mounts with hobby-horses to reduce solid waste and methane emissions?
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The complete events schedule for the 2012 London Olympics has been released. Shooting events will take place at the Royal Artillery Barracks near Woolwich. Shooting competition starts with 10m Air Pistol on July 28 and finishes with the Mens 3-Position Finals and Trap Finals on August 6.
Olympic tickets (for all sports) go on sale starting March 15, 2011. Don’t delay if you want to grab tickets for the Shooting Finals. U.S. residents can purchase tickets through CoSport.com, while UK residents can get tickets from the London2012.com official website.