Everyone has a bad day at the office, but Olympians spend years trying to make sure it doesn’t come when they can least afford it. But, that’s exactly what happened to two of the sports best Thursday at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Entering with the 2010 World ChampionJosh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pa.) and defending Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller (USAMU/Katy, Texas) in Men’s Double Trap and with two gold medals already secure in the shotgun events at the 2012 London Olympic Games, confidence was brimming for Team USA. But an ominous beginning for both Army Marksmanship Unit shooters would shatter confidence and rattle nerves. Trying to put it together in rounds two and three of their qualifying, the two teammates and friends struggled with consistency throughout.
Richmond finished in 16th place with a score of 131 with rounds of 44, 42 and 45, which was the lowest recorded score in world-level competition since 2006.
“Today was one of my toughest days ever,” said Richmond. “I had a couple problems with my hold points and missed a lot more first targets than usual. I was somewhat chasing my tail all day trying to figure it out & put a run together. The score wasn’t the one I was looking for. But overall I’ve learned a lot from being here and my experience has been awesome so far. I’m going to be a contender for 2016, because I’ve caught the bug.”
Eller finished 22nd with a 126 after shooting rounds of 41, 43 and 42. The 126 represents Eller’s lowest score in a world-level event since 2005.
“At the end of the day I’m happy to be here and to have had this wonderful opportunity. Unfortunately, I got behind early and basically chased my tail until I was out of it.”
Peter Wilson of Great Britain earned the gold medal in front of the home country shooting a 188. He is now Britain’s first Shooting medalist since Richard Faulds won gold in the same event in Sydney 12 years ago. Sweden’s Hakan Dahlby finished second while Russian Vasily Mosin won bronze after a shoot-off with Kuwaiti Fehaid Aldeehani.
Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol
Russia’s Alexi Klimov, the current top ranked rapid fire shooter in the world, has a one point lead on the competition. Klimov shot 294 points in stage one, followed by Pupo Leuris and Ding Feng of China with 293 points. For the first time in the Olympic Games, the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol final will be held using the new “hit-or-miss” direct elimination competition format that debuted at the 2010 World Championships.In the first day of Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, AmericanEmil Milev (Tampa, Fla.) got off to a great start. Milev shot 292/300 points to enter day two in seventh position. Teammate Keith Sanderson(Colorado Springs, Colo.), the current Olympic record holder, shot 288 points for 14th place. After getting rid of the day one jitters, both athletes will rely on their Olympic experience to propel them to success tomorrow.
The six finalists will shoot all together at the same time (versus the previous system, where three shooters competed in two relays). Electronic targets will be set to record hit (a shot 9.7 or above) or miss scores, and finalists will be eliminated one after the other right up until the gold medal duel.
The qualification round continues tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. to 1 pm in the 25-meter shooting hall at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Finals of the event will begin at 2:30 pm in London.
Smallbore Rifle Events Set to Get Underway with U.S. Medal Hopes
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) will be well-represented in Friday’s start to the smallbore (.22 caliber) rifle events. After a 16-year-absence from Olympic competition, Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) is set for an Olympic return and will compete in the Prone event alongside his AMU teammate and Olympic rookie Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wis.). McPhail and Uptagrafft have demonstrated their confidence with this range after scoring two finals appearances including a bronze medal for McPhail at the April “London Prepares” test event. This duo has secured 11 World Cup medals since 2008.
Format: Shooters fire 60 shots in the prone position. The time allowed, including sighting shots, is 75 minutes. The highest scoring ring is 10.4 mm in diameter at a distance of 50m. The finals consist of 10 shots from the prone position within a time limit of 45 seconds per shot.
Qualification: 9:00 – 10:15 am (in London)
Finals: 12:00 pm BST (in London)
Media Transport: Route Code MM1-RAB; Departure from Media Transport Mall is :25 and :55
Images courtesy Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs