Well, it seems as if the Mayans might have been slightly misguided in their bold prognostication of this world’s demise. Luckily for us, that means we still had the ability to reach out to our members, fans and supporters and wish them the very best this holiday season and to also take a moment to reflect back upon 2012 with the fondness and appreciation it deserves.

As shooting sports fans, we’ll remember 2012 for Kim Rhode’s rise to Olympic fame despite an environment littered with deeper attraction to swimmers, runners and gymnasts.  We’ll remember Vincent Hancock’s stoic ascension to skeet greatness; the Jamie Gray smile as almost finally became foremost; and the pit in our stomachs that followed Matt Emmons’ final shot of 7.6 and the jubilation that followed when “oh no” finally became “hell yes.”

While these will forever be the defining moments of 2012, let’s not forget that the whole far exceeds the sum of its parts. This assembly of talent numbering 22 Olympic and Paralympic shooters deserves its collective recognition. While not all were fortunate enough to find glory through medal, their pursuit, dedication, discipline, responsibility and representation of their craft demands respect and admiration.

Collectively they represent everything that we love about the shooting sports. Soldiers, veterans, students, teachers, hunters, and a rancher united to showcase marksmanship skills at the highest level. Using their skills they taught all of us that hitting your mark is golden, but in pursuit of perfection, coming close is pretty darn good too.

We invite you to revisit the magic of 2012, either by glancing at the just released 2012 YEAR IN REVIEW or view the 2012 SHOOTING STARS VIDEO featuring our favorite Olympic moments in a video tribute.

Also, we invited our Twitter and Facebook fans to come up with their own Christmas Carols and adding a USA Shooting twist. We think you’ll be as impressed by our fans’ creativity and passion as we were. To view, click HERE.

Finally, we asked our 2012 Olympians and Paralympians to share with us their most memorable gift and provide us with their 2013 Shooting Resolution. A taste of that is provided below for your enjoyment.

From all of us at USA Shooting, thank you for your support, dedication and interest in our family and we wish you and your loved ones a most blessed holiday season and an even better 2013!

Matt Emmons, Three-Time Olympic Medalist, Rifle

When thinking about special Christmas presents, the first one that pops in my head is when I got my first competition airgun. It must have been Christmas 1996. I’d been shooting an old borrowed Diana air rifle with target sights, but the gun was terribly inaccurate. I really wanted a decent airgun in a bad way. Mom and dad kept telling me it was too expensive and I’d have to wait. Well, Christmas morning came and I was opening presents. My parents did a heck of a job burying this airgun underneath all the other presents, so I got to it last. I was clueless as to what this big box was. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it was a new Feinwerkbau C62. Dad had also been sneaky to hide a CO2 tank in the garage, so I filled the cylinder and shot in the basement practically all day. It wasn’t about receiving a big gift, though. It was something I wanted so much and the way my parents did it was awesome. I had absolutely no idea and was convinced I’d have to wait until I saved up the money for one myself. Thanks mom and dad!

My 2013 shooting resolution is listen more to my body and do exactly what my PT’s tell me to do to get physically healthy again.

Jamie Gray, 2012 Olympic Gold MedalistRifle

I honestly could not think of a “special” gift I received as a youngster so I had to inquire with my mother. The first thing that popped in her head was Quindy, a black Cabbage Patch Kid that I asked for constantly. My babysitter actually got the gift for me when I was 3 or 4. My mom says I took Quindy everywhere. I loved Cabbage Patch Kids when I was younger; I had at least 8 of them. I used to get one for Christmas or my birthday almost every year when I was young. Even still today my mom is trying to send my Cabbage Patch Kids back home with me. As for now they still reside in Lebanon, PA.

As far as my shooting resolution I am focused on recovering my back from an injury I have been fighting since the end of 2010. Now that we know what could be the cause of the problem I am motivated to rehab as much as needed and be at 100% come 2014.

Eric Hollen, 2012 Paralympic Pistol Shooter

The best Christmas gift that i can remember, was a new Yamaha YZ 125 as the youngest racer in my family, it meant that I was able to keep up better with my dad, uncles, and cousins. Motocross was a big deal in our family and I had to stay at home until I was eight. The first bike I rode was an MX-100 Yamaha it was an entry level beginner’s type motorcycle.  So on that 12th Christmas, I was very excited to have a new YZ 125 sitting in the garage.

My shooting goal for the 2013 season is to become much more consistent with the application of my shot process.

Josh Richmond, 2012 Olympian, Shotgun

So far my best gift was coming home from Afghanistan last year and making it home before Christmas to be with my family and friends.  Just getting home and being with everyone was the best gift I could ask for.  The holidays to me are a time to enjoy the company of your friends and family that you have not seen in a while and relax and recharge from a busy shooting season.

My resolution this year is to volunteer and conduct two youth shooting clinics, free of charge.  So much of my time is focused on constantly training and obtaining my goals.  Well I feel like it is time to take a step back and focus on giving back to our youth and help them reach their goals as well.   Rio 2016!

Frank Thompson, 2012 Olympian, Shotgun

My most memorable Christmas gifts were much more influential for the rest of my life than I had ever known then. When I was four my sister and I asked Santa for a bow and arrow. Our dad hunted archery so we wanted to too, of course. We both got a bow and some arrows. I ran around the ranch shooting anything I thought I could hit — trees, rocks, rabbits, the barn, fence posts, and every dirt clod within range. The bow was my first shooting type present and then later in life my dad and I had done some shooting the fall that I was 10 and we had a lot of fun. On my tenth Christmas, almost 14 years ago, I got a 20 gauge shotgun that I shot the heck out of and got me started on my shotgun shooting path and led me to where I am now. I had no clue at the time just how big of a gift it was.

My New Year shooting specific resolution is to take every shot as my best shot. Worry only about what really matters, what will make me better, in my shooting and my life, and let the other things be a mere comedic experience and live to have fun and be happy.

Eric Uptagrafft, Two-Time Olympian, Rifle

My best holiday memory was Christmas 2011. Sandra was deployed to Afghanistan during Christmas in 2010.  I spent that Christmas at my mother’s house in Spokane, WA. We were on Skype with Sandra on Christmas morning when her camp was being rocketed and she had to run for the bunker.  I knew what was going on but didn’t tell my mother to save her some worry.  She returned safely in March of 2011.  A few months later I was also deployed for a short tour to Afghanistan.  We had been talking about going to Hawaii for years and after a stressful 2011 made a commitment to go for Christmas that year.  Sandra and I had the best vacation of our lives with my mother and sister in Honolulu.  I’d go back in a second.

Sarah Scherer, 2012 Olympian, Rifle

I absolutely love real Christmas trees and one year we didn’t get one before Christmas and so the day after Christmas, my brother and mom surprised me by sneakily putting up a Christmas tree that a neighbor had a thrown away late Christmas evening. We definitely kept it up until February!

My New Year’s resolution is to find new ways to challenge myself mentally in training to reach that next level in my shooting’s mental game.

Amanda Furrer, 2012 Olympian, Rifle

My best Christmas present is being lucky enough to spend Christmas with my family every year and have everyone together.

My shooting resolution is to improve my air rifle skills so I don’t have to just focus on .22!

Image courtesy USA Shooting

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