OLYMPIC GAMES WRAP-UP: 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for Shooting Claims Six Medals, Sets Five Olympic Records in Beijing


BEIJING, China (August 22, 2008) —The U.S. Olympic Team for Shooting turned out an outstanding performance at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China earning six medals to double the medal count from Athens four years ago. Arguably, the most successful showing for the U.S. in the history of the Olympic shooting competition, the U.S. Shooting team brought home two gold, two silver and two bronze medals and set a total of five new Olympic records.

Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) won the first medal for the U.S. on August 11 when she took home the bronze in the women’s trap competition. Two-time Olympian and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) member Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas) kept up the medal winning trend for the shooting team the next day when he claimed his first Olympic medal, earning the gold in men’s double trap.

Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) captured her fourth Olympic medal in four Olympic Games on Thursday, August 14 when she fought through the rainy weather conditions to claim the silver in women’s skeet.

Team USA earned two additional medals on Friday, August 15 when 2004 Olympic gold medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.) took home the silver in Men’s 50m Prone Rifle and the U.S. also learned that same day that 2004 Olympian Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) was awarded a bronze medal in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event after Kim Jong Su from North Korea was disqualified for a positive drug test.

USAMU member Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) capped off the impressive medal winning performance by the U.S. earning the gold in the men’s skeet event, which was the final medal won by the U.S. Shooting team at the 2008 Games.

August 9 was the first day of the shooting competition at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall and the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event was contested, which was the first event where medals were awarded at the 2008 Olympic Games. Jamie Beyerle (Lebanon, Pa.) claimed the fourth spot, barely out of medal contention, after an impressive performance shooting a qualification score of 397, a final score of 102.8 for a total of 499.8.

“That is the best I shot since the World Cup USA last year, so I am really happy with it,” Beyerle said following her fourth place finish.

Emily Caruso (Fairfield, Conn.), a 2004 Olympian, finished in 15th place with a score of 395 qualification points.

The first gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Games went to Katy Emmons, of the Czech Republic, who finished with a qualification score of 400, a final of 103.5 for total score of 503.5, setting a finals Olympic record. Katy Emmons, who was the 2004 bronze medalist, is married to U.S. rifle shooter Matt Emmons. The silver medal in Women’s Air Rifle went to Lioubov Galkina of Russia with a score of 502.1 and Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia took the bronze with 500.9.

Jason Turner and Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) turned out tremendous performances for Team USA in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event. Turner finished the day in fourth place, which later ended up earning him the bronze medal. Beaman finished in fifth, but was eventually elevated to the fourth spot.

Turner entered the final with a qualification score of 583, while Beaman shot a qualifying score of 581. Turner shot a 99.0 in the final and Beaman fired a score of 101.0, each finishing the final with a score of 682.0. Turner earned fourth place with a 10.5 to Beaman’s 10.3 in a one-shot shoot-off.

With Kim Jong Su’s positive drug test, came a bronze medal for Turner, which was the first medal the U.S. has earned in pistol since Erich Buljung, won the silver in men’s air pistol at the 1988 Olympic Games.

Turner was presented his bronze medal by International Olympic Committee (IOC) member James Easton in a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee on Saturday, August 16 at the USA House in Beijing.

“It feels great to win the bronze, though I still don’t think it has all sunk in yet,” said Turner. “When (Team Leader Dwayne Weger) called me with the news I was dumbfounded, and for the next few days I was in shock and not really expecting it to happen. I didn’t consider being a medalist until they actually put it around my neck.”

Beaman’s total of 101.0 in the final round was second only to the eventual gold medalist Pang Wei of China, whose final score of 102.2 gave him a total of 688.2, nearly four points ahead of silver medalist Jin Jong Oh of Korea, who shot a total score of 684.5.

The men’s trap qualification was also held on the first day of competition at the Beijing Shooting Range Clay Target Field (CTF) and after 75 targets U.S. Air Force shooter and 2008 Olympic Shooting Team Captain Dominic Grazioli (San Antonio, Texas) was holding 16th place with an overall score of 69 targets. Three-time Olympian Bret Erickson (Bennington, Neb./Muenster, Texas) was in the 31st spot with 65 targets going into the second day of competition.

Grazioli ended up finishing his first Olympic Games in 22nd place on Sunday with an overall score of 113 targets, while 47-year old Bret Erickson (Bennington, Neb.) took 23rd place, also with 113 targets.

“Obviously I wish I could have performed better,” Grazioli, 44, said after the competition. “I didn’t live up to my capabilities, but overall I had a great time and now I have to decide whether or not I am going to retire.”

David Kostelecky of the Czech Republic captured the gold in men’s trap, shooting a perfect score of 25 in the final, finishing with a total of 146 targets. Italy’s Giovanni Pellielo won the silver medal with 143 targets. Olympic gold medalists Michael Diamond of Australia and Alexey Alipov of Russia each finished the final tied at 142 targets. In the shoot-off, Alipov took the bronze medal after hitting three targets to Diamond’s two.

Shooting in her first ever Olympic Games, Brenda Shinn (Riverside, Calif.) finished 37th in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol event after firing a score of 373. Shinn, 46, who began shooting in 1979 and stopped competing in 1987 after the birth of her son, took up the sport again in 2006. Her goal when she came back to shooting was to make the 2012 Olympic team.

“To come in at my age after only shooting competitively for the past two years, it’s amazing for me to be at the Olympics,” said Shinn. “Of course I am disappointed with my performance, but it’s been such a great experience and one I am going to build from.”

Three-time Olympian Beki Snyder (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who was competing in the first of her two events at the 2008 Olympic Games, ended the competition in 41st place with a score of 370.

The gold medal in air pistol went to China’s Guo Wenjun, the number one ranked female air pistol shooter in the world. Guo finished in first place with an overall score of 492.3, which is a new Olympic record. Natalia Paderina of Russia took the silver with a total score of 489.1 and Georgia’s Nino Salukvadze claimed the bronze with 487.4.

Twenty-one year old Corey Cogdell took home the bronze medal for Team USA after an exciting shoot-off in the final of the women’s trap competition on August 11.

Cogdell, who has only been shooting International Trap competitively for a little over two years, entered the final round with a qualification score of 69 out of 75 targets. In the 25 target final, Cogdell shot a score of 17 and ended the final round in a four-way tie at 86 targets with Japan’s Yukie Nakayama, Diana Gudzineviciute from Lithuania and Elena Struchaeva of Kazakhstan. Cogdell drew the fourth spot for the shoot-off and after the first three shooters missed their targets, Cogdell hit a small piece off her target to take third place and claim the bronze.

“I didn’t expect to do this well after only shooting competitively for the past two years,” Cogdell said. “I wasn’t even supposed to get on the Olympic team. My goal was to be on the 2012 Olympic team, so to win a medal at the Olympics at this point in my career is really a dream come true.”

Cogdell has two medals from previous international events, having claimed the bronze medals at the 2007 World Cup in Korea in her first international competition, as well as the 2007 Pan American Games.

Finland’s Satu Makela-Nummela won the gold with a final score of 21 targets, setting a new finals Olympic record and finishing with an overall score of 91 targets. Zuzana Stefecekova of Slovakia took the silver with 89 targets.

In the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event, which was held the same day, two-time Olympian and USAMU member Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) placed 23rd with a total score of 591, while 19-year old West Point Cadet Stephen Scherer (Billerica, Mass.) took the 27th spot with 590.

Men’s air rifle was the first of two events for Parker in Beijing, who also shot men’s 3 position on the final day of competition.

“It’s great to be shooting in my third Olympics,” said Parker right after the match. “My performance was disappointing, but I think I did some things right and I plan on taking that with me into my 3 position competition on Sunday.”

Abhinav Bindra of India took home the gold in men’s air rifle with a total score of 700.5. The silver went to China’s Zhu Qinan with 699.7 and Henri Hakkinen of Finland claimed the bronze with 699.4.

The following day at the Beijing Shooting Range CTF, Glenn Eller captured the gold medal and set two Olympic records in the men’s double trap competition.

Eller, who finished 12th at the 2000 Sydney Games and 17th in Athens, entered the final round four targets ahead of Italy’s Francesco D’ Aniello with a qualification score of 145, setting a new Olympic record. The previous Olympic record of 144 was set by Ahmed Almaktoum of the United Arab Emirates at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

After missing his first pair in the final, Eller ended up shooting 45 targets and finished with a total score of 190 targets, setting another Olympic record and taking home the gold.

“I was so happy after I won, but I didn’t know whether to cry, smile or jump up and down,” said Eller. “After my performances in the last two Olympics, I really wanted to come here and bring home a medal for the U.S. This is definitely one of the greatest moments of my life so far.”

Eller is no stranger to finishing on top of the podium in double trap. On the world cup circuit in 2007, he claimed the gold medal in Korea and also took home the gold at the world cup final. He captured the silver medal at the 2008 “Good Luck Beijing” ISSF World Cup, which served as the Olympic Test Event, this past April.

Eller’s USAMU teammate Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.), who was competing for the U.S. on his first Olympic team, went into the double trap final in third place with a score of 140, shot 42 targets in the final and ended in fourth place with an overall score of 182.

“I got off to a bad start and couldn’t really figure out what I was doing wrong,” Holguin said of his performance. “I came here to win; my goal wasn’t just to make the team. I am disappointed, but hats off to Glenn who is not only my teammate, but a good friend.”

D’ Aniello took the silver with 187 targets, while the bronze medal was won by Hu Binyuan of China with 184 targets.

Jason Turner was back on Tuesday along with Daryl Szarenski (Saginaw, Mich.), a two-time Olympian and member of the USAMU, to compete in the Men’s 50m Free Pistol event.

Szarenski, who claimed the bronze medal at the “Good Luck Beijing” 2008 ISSF World Cup this past April, which was the first World Cup medal won by a U.S. shooter in Men’s Free Pistol since 2000, was the top American finisher in men’s free pistol at the 2008 Olympic Games, taking 14th place with a total score of 555. Turner took 21st place with 553.

Speaking about his performance following the match, Turner said, “It was a little rough. I had to work very hard just to accomplish what I did today. I didn’t have any expectations going in to the match. I just went in and tried to execute each shot as well as I could.”

The gold went to Jin Jong Oh of the Republic of Korea, the silver medalist in 2004, with an overall score of 660.4. Kim Jong Su from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea finished second with 660.2 and therefore should have taken home his second medal of the Games, but because of his positive drug test, the silver went to China’s Tan Zongliang who finished with overall score of 659.5 and the bronze was awarded to Vladimir Isakov of the Russian Federation with 658.9.

The Women’s 25m Sport Pistol competition took place the following day at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall. Fifty-six year old Libby Callahan (Columbia, S.C.), who is the oldest known American woman to compete for the U.S. at an Olympic Games (winter or summer), was the highest U.S. finisher in the event, taking 25th place with a total score of 575.

“I made some mental errors that cost me from being competitive in the match,” said Callahan after her competition. “I am really disappointed, but I have enjoyed being here in Beijing for the Olympics and overall it’s been a great experience.”

Beki Snyder, who was competing in her second event of the 2008 Olympic Games, also earned an overall score of 575 points, finishing in 28th place. Both Callahan and Snyder have competed in three previous Olympic Games.

Chen Ying of China won the gold medal with a final score of 793.4, which is a new Olympic record. Mongolia’s Otryad Gundegmaa earned the silver medal with 792.2 and the bronze went to Dorjsuren Munkhbayar of Germany with 789.2.

Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) added to her Olympic medal tally on Thursday when she captured the silver medal in the women’s skeet event.

Rhode, who won the gold in women’s double trap in 1996 and 2004 as well as the bronze in 2000, also shot in the skeet event at the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games, but switched to skeet shooting full-time after the women’s double trap event was removed from Olympic competition in 2004.

“After double trap was eliminated in 2004, it was a bittersweet win for me,” said Rhode. “On one hand I won the gold, but on the other hand I knew the challenge I faced in completely switching to skeet. I couldn’t be happier with winning a medal today. Gold, silver or bronze, I don’t think it matters. I am just so glad to be back at the Olympics and representing my country.”

Rhode claimed her silver medal after an exciting shoot-off. She went into the final tied for third place at 70 out of 75 targets with three other shooters. After hitting 23 out of 25 targets in the final, Rhode came out tied for first place at 93 targets with Italy’s Chiara Cainero and Christine Brinker of Germany. In the sudden death shoot-off, Rhode and Brinker each missed a target on their first pair, while Cainero hit both of her targets, giving her the gold medal. Battling for the silver in a second shoot-off, Brinker missed one of her targets and Rhode hit both to take home the silver.

In a tremendous effort, Jamie Beyerle barely missed out on earning a spot on the medal podium for the second time at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, this time in the Women’s 50m 3 Position Rifle event. Beyerle entered the final with a score of 586, just three points out of first place, which was held by China’s Du Li. Despite shooting an excellent final score of 100.9 and standing in second place overall going into the final shot, Beyerle fired a score of 8.7, which wasn’t enough to land her on the podium and she finished in fifth place with an overall score of 686.9.

“It was a great match. I am disappointed, but to finish in fifth place isn’t bad and it’s really been a great experience overall shooting at the Olympics,” said Beyerle.

Beyerle has dominated the women’s 3 position for the U.S. over the past few years. She is the bronze medalist from the 2007 World Cup USA and claimed the gold at the 2007 Pan American Games. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Beyerle finished on top by a substantial margin of 22 points, to claim her first berth to the U.S. Olympic Team. Most recently, Beyerle captured the silver medal in Women’s 3 Position at the 2008 World Cup in Milan, Italy.

Sandra Fong (New York, N.Y.), the other U.S. shooter competing in women’s 3 position and the youngest member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Shooting team, finished in 21st place with a score of 577. Fong’s younger sister, Danielle, qualified for a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team in shooting and will be competing at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in September.

Du Li hung on to win the gold medal in women’s 3 position with 690.3, while Katy Emmons of the Czech Republic, captured her second medal of the 2008 Olympic Games, taking home the silver with a final score of 687.7. Cuba’s Yaima Eglis Cruz took the bronze, finishing right behind Emmons in third place with 687.6.

Matt Emmons won his second career Olympic medal on day seven of the 2008 Olympic Games shooting competition when he took home the silver in the Men’s 50m Prone Rifle event.

Emmons fired an outstanding match score of 597out of a possible 600 points and entered the final in second place behind Ukraine’s Artur Ayvazian, who had a qualification score of 599. Emmons shot an exceptional final of 104.7 finishing with a total score of 701.7 to claim the silver medal. Ayvazian held on to win the gold after shooting a 103.7 in the final and a total score of 702.7.

“I had the best match of my life today, but it turned out that someone else shot a little better,” Emmons said of taking home the silver medal. “I gave it everything I had and couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I am completely satisfied with the silver. This medal and this competition to me is the biggest one I have ever shot in and one I will never forget.”

Emmons had an extremely successful 2007, winning a total of eight medals on the ISSF World Cup circuit. He secured his two spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in men’s prone and men’s 3 position rifle and won a gold medal in 3 position, as well as a silver in prone at the 2007 ISSF World Cup Final. Earlier this year, Emmons claimed the bronze medal in prone at the world cup in Milan, Italy.

The bronze medal in men’s prone went to Warren Potent of Australia, who shot a 105.5 in the final and ended with a total score of 700.5. Michael Anti (Winterville, N.C.), a Major in the USAMU, who is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in men’s 3 position, finished the prone event in ninth place with 594.

The U.S. Shooting Team earned its final medal of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing on Saturday when Vincent Hancock captured the gold in men’s skeet and set two Olympic records.

Hancock was in first place going into the final after hitting 121 out of a possible 125 targets in the qualification round, which is a new Olympic record. Hancock shot 24 targets in the final to finish tied with Norway’s Tore Brovold, who shot a perfect 25, at 145 targets. Both shooters hit their first pair in the first shoot-off and in the second shoot-off, Brovold missed one of his targets, while Hancock hit both to claim the gold medal and set another Olympic record for the final.

“I’ve always dreamed of getting gold and now I’ve got it,” said Hancock. “I like to deal with pressure and now it’s paid off. This is such an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.”

Already at the young age of 19, Hancock is a World Champion, Pan American Games Champion, 2007 World Cup Italy Champion and world record holder, World Clay Target Championship bronze medalist and now an Olympic Champion.

Brovold took the silver in men’s skeet and Anthony Terras of France claimed the bronze in a shoot-off with Antonis Nikolaidis of Cyprus.

U.S. shooter Sean McLelland (Mission, Texas) finished the qualification round tied for sixth place at 118 targets with six other shooters, but missed a target on his first pair in the shoot-off, failing to qualify for the six-person final. McLelland ended the competition in 11th place overall.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Keith Sanderson (San Antonio, Texas), a member of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) stationed at Ft. Carson, Colo., placed fifth in the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event.

Sanderson had an exceptional qualifying round, scoring an Olympic record of 583 points and lead the field by two points entering the final round, which was the first time he has ever held the lead going into a final. Sanderson’s disappointing score of 193.6 in the final dropped him out of medal contention and he finished in fifth place overall with 776.6.

“I am happy with how I shot today in the regular match, but I shot horrible in the final and I am pretty disappointed,” said Sanderson. “I had a lot of fun in the qualification round though. I don’t always get to say I truly had fun in a match, but I can honestly say I had fun today. I wish it could’ve turned out different, but the whole Olympic experience has been great, especially being here to represent my country.”

The rapid fire gold medal went to Oleksandr Petriv of the Ukraine, who shot an Olympic finals record of 780.2, including a 200.2 in the final round. Germany’s Ralf Schumann took the silver with a 779.5, while Christian Reitz of Germany won the bronze medal with a 779.3.

The nine-day shooting competition at the 2008 Olympic Games concluded at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall on Sunday, August 17 with Matt Emmons finishing in fourth place in the Men’s 50m 3 Position Rifle event.

Emmons, who won the silver medal in men’s prone earlier in the competition shot a tremendous qualification round, finishing with scores of 399 in prone, 389 standing and 387 kneeling, which put him in second place overall at 1175 going into the final. Emmons was right behind 2000 Olympic gold medalist Rajmond Debeve of Slovenia, who had a qualification score of 1176.

Reminiscent of the final shot in the same event in Athens when Emmons was on his way to a gold medal, then cross-fired finishing in eighth place, he was once again in the same situation. Heading into the final shot standing comfortably in first place by 3.3 points, Emmons accidentally hit the trigger prematurely with his finger and fired a disappointing 4.4 to finish in fourth place.

“I didn’t feel my finger shaking, but I guess it was,” Emmons said after his match. “I realized it went off and I hoped it made it into the black. I call it a freak of nature; I felt normal in this match, maybe just a little bit more nervous. If it had made it to the bullseye, it would have been great.”

Emmons had an outstanding final, shooting seven 10s in a row, but the 4.4 on his last shot just wasn’t enough to keep him in medal contention. “In an Olympic final to shoot that many 10s in a row, that’s as good as it gets and I am happy with it,” Emmons said. “I would love to have a medal around my neck right now, but I had 129 really good shots today and a phenomenal final, so I really can’t complain. I don’t know why I am not supposed to win this event, but everything happens for a reason and it will be good motivation for me for the next four years.”

The gold medal went to Qiu Jian of China who shot a total score of 1272.5. The silver medal was claimed by Jury Sukhorukov of the Ukraine with a 1272.4, while Slovenia’s Rajmond Debevec won the bronze medal with a score of 1271.7.

Jason Parker who was competing in his second event of the Beijing Games finished in 22nd place with a prone score of 393, a standing score of 384 and a kneeling of 387 for a total of 1164 points.

After competing at the highest level and turning out personal best and record breaking performances at the 2008 Olympic Games, the U.S. Shooting team walked away with an impressive six medals, increasing the all-time Olympic shooting medal tally from 97 to 103. The accomplishments of Team USA in Beijing help to make these Games one of the most successful Olympic Games to date for the sport of shooting.

“We are extremely pleased with our success at the Beijing Games, which goes beyond winning six medals, but also with the additional strong performances in all three disciplines,” said USA Shooting Executive Director Bob Mitchell. “Our team’s performance bodes well for the future with many of our shooter athletes being at an early stage in their shooting careers.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here