London 2012: Shooting
Tell me about shooting:
Shooting made its Olympic debut in Athens in the 1896 Olympics. All the shooting events this year in London will take place at the Royal Artillery Barracks. In the history of shooting at the Olympics, the United States takes the cake. With a total of 103 medals in 25 Olympics, 50 of which are gold, the US has taken home more medals and more gold medals than any other country.
The next best countries competing for medals are China and Sweden. China has taken home 19 gold medals and 42 total medals in the history of the Olympics, and Sweden has taken home 15 gold medals and 55 total medals. In this year’s Olympics, there will be 15 total events, nine for men and three for women.
How does shooting work:
The sport of shooting is divided depending on the type of gun being used: rifle, pistol, or shotgun. During the events that use either the rifle or pistol, athletes shoot at stationary targets. The events are categorized based on the distance from the target: 10m, 25m, or 50m.
There are three different positions that the shooter could be in when shooting the stationary target: standing, kneeling or lying down. The objective is to hit as many perfect shots into the middle of the target as possible.
During the events that use the shotgun, shooters shoot moving clay targets. The shotgun events include Trap and Skeet. The objective is to hit as many of the moving clay targets as possible.
Americans to watch: The US is sending 20 athletes, female and male, to London for the 2012 Olympic Games. Among those 20 athletes are a number of veterans hoping to take home gold again. Kim Rhode participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and took home a silver medal in the women’s Skeet event. She is a four-time Olympic medalist and is looking to make history by winning medals in five different games. Matt Emmons took home a silver medal in 2008 in the men’s 50m Rifle Prone. Vincent Hancock took home gold in the men’s Skeet in 2008 and will be looking to reclaim his gold medal. Corey Cogdell took home a bronze medal in 2008 in the women’s Trap event. Then there is Jason Parker, a US army sergeant who is also a three-time Olympian but has never medaled. Parker won gold in the 2012 World Cup and is looking to finally capture his first Olympic medal.
Keep your eye out for these international sharp shooters:
China has always been a big contender for medals in the sport of shooting at the Olympics. After winning eight medals in Beijing in 2008, China will be coming out strong this year. Du Li won gold in Beijing for the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions event and will be looking to reclaim her gold in London. Guo Wenjun also won gold in 2008 in the women’s 10m Air Pistol event and will be competing again this year to take home gold for a second time. Pang Wei was the gold medalist for the men’s 10m Air Pistol event and will be returning to the Olympics hoping to win gold again.
Talk like an Olympian – terms to know:
Rifle – one of the three guns used for the shooting games, used either standing, kneeling, or lying down
Pistol – one of the three guns used for the shooting games, used with one hand
Shotgun – one of the three guns used for the shooting games, used to hit the moving targets
Trap – where the moving clay targets are released from