The sport of shooting takes center stage in London on the first official day of the XXX Olympiad as Women’s 10 meter Air Rifle will be the first medal handed out. Hundreds of media, and millions more people worldwide, are waiting to see the first hero of the London Olympic Games.
With any luck the Team USA medal-run will get off to an early start with Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Calif.) and Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) stepping to the line on day one.
The two-time Olympian Gray was 1.1 points out of medal contention four years ago in Beijing while finishing fourth. Over the course of 50 shots fired (40 + 10 shot final), that equates to less than a millimeter.
The first-time Olympian Scherer is no stranger to the big moment winning several NCAA titles while competing for Texas Christian University. She also showed up to her first World Cup match in 2011 and won a gold medal in this event.
Katy Emmons, Matt Emmons’ wife, is shooting for the Czech Republic and is the defending gold medalist in the event. Emmons won gold by setting an Olympic record in qualifying with a perfect 400 and setting an Olympic finals record of 503.5.
2010 ISSF World Champion Yi Siling of China is the hands-on favorite for gold. She’s young (23), is ranked No. 1 in the world in this event, and was the first athlete to qualify for the Games in 2010, winning an Olympic Quota at the ISSF World Championship in Munich. Out of 15 ISSF competitions she participated in (during the last four years), she made it to 12 finals, finishing on the podium nine times.
Format: In qualification, women shoot 40 shots in 75 minutes. The shots are fired in the standing position at 10m (33 feet) from a 10-ring target of only .5mm diameter, or roughly the size of a period at the end of a sentence. The finals consist of 10 shots from the standing position in a time limit of 75 seconds per shot. A perfect qualifying score is 400 (40 shots x 10). A perfect finals score is 109 (10 shots x 10.9).
Qualification – 8:15 – 9:30 am
Finals – 11:00 – 11:20 am
Men’s 10m Air Pistol
Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) is back with a mission-to experience the glory of a Men’s 10m Air Pistol Olympic award ceremony. After preliminary results in 2008, Turner finished fourth overall and was later informed that his fourth-place finish was upgraded to bronze as North Korean Kim Jong Su tested positive for a banned substance. Turner celebrated his bronze medal in the Team USA house with his 2008 teammates, but did not step on to the Olympic podium in the official ceremony.
Though he has had a relatively quiet four years since 2008, he has the talent and experience to be considered a serious contender yet again.
American teammate and four-time Olympian Sergeant First Class Daryl Szarenski (Seale, Ala.) set a new National Record at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun in February 2011, and will be competing in both air and free pistol. His national record of 591 points equals the Olympic record set by Mikhail Nestruev of Russia at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Szarenski, a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program was the 2011 Pan American Games gold medalist and holds several World Cup titles.
Returning champion Pang Wei, hasn’t delivered a show-stopping air pistol performance in the past four years, but is having luck in Men’s 50m Free Pistol. Japan’s Matsuda Tomoyuki has also been a familiar face on the ISSF podiums in the past four years. Leonid Ekimov of Russia is listed as the ISSF’s third likely medalist in the rankings and has won three of the eight ISSF events he participated in.
Format: In the qualification, men shoot 60 shots in 105 minutes. The shots are fired in the standing position at 10m at a 10-ring target of 11.5mm in diameter. The finals consist of 10 shots from the standing position in a time limit of 75 seconds per shot.
Qualification – 12:00 – 1:45 pm
Finals - 3:30 – 3:50 pm
Television: 6:00 – 6:45 am EASTERN — NBC Sports Network
London Key Facts for Shooting
Venue: The Royal Artillery Barracks
Dates: Saturday, July 28 – Monday, August 6
Medal events: 15
Athletes: 390. Each country is limited to 28 athletes (20 men and eight women). This equates to two athletes in all events, except for the women’s Trap and Skeet where only one athlete per country is allowed.
Venue: The Shooting competition will be held at a truly historic venue: The Royal Artillery Barracks. Its rich heritage dates back to 1716, when a Royal Warrant authorized the formation of two artillery companies at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. The current building was constructed between 1775 and 1802.
Captured within a special edition of the USA Shooting News is all the information needed regarding the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team for Shooting.For more information about the USA Shooting Team including ways to follow the action and the complete shooting schedule, click here.
Logo courtesy of USA Shooting