May 20th, 2012

Shooting Facilities Readied for 2012 London Olympic Games

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.

London Olympic Shooting Venue
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.

London Olympic Shooting Venue
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.

London Olympic Shooting Venue
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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