Team USA Shooters Kick Off 2012 Olympic Games

Olympic Medal iStock-1328307953
America’s shooting sports heritage are contrivuting to its success in the olympic games. IMG iStock-1328307953

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –-( Every four years, shooting sports emerge from the shadows and take their place among the 26 sports fighting for the attention of billions.

Misunderstood, under-recognized, and somewhat ill-perceived, USA Shooting’s top stars clamor for their rightful place among the attention-grabbing headliners of Team USA.

Never before in the history of shooting has the prospect of doing so been within reach, but Sunday in London, the eyes of the world will be tracking every heart-pounding shot fired by a California dreamer named Kim Rhode (actually pronounced ROW-dee).

USA Shooting's Kim Rhode
Team USA Shooters Kick-Off 2012 Olympic Games – 2 American Women Make Air Rifle Final

By 9:45 Eastern (2:45 pm in London), Rhode could re-write the annuls of U.S. Olympic history by becoming the first American ever to win five Olympic medals in five consecutive Olympic Games in an individual sport. Think back on the greatest Olympians of all-time – Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mary Lou Retton, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, Peggy Fleming, Bonnie Blair – and none of them ever stood where Rhode could potentially be standing on this mid-summer day in London.

She emerged on the shooting scene as a bright-eyed teenager in Atlanta in 1996 winning a gold medal in women’s double trap on July 23 that year. Sixteen years later she’s still dominating her sport, albeit in a different event after women’s double trap was eliminated after the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Among the 17 Olympic competitors, Rhode will face the two women who she battled in the medal shoot-off during the 2008 Olympic Games: Italy’s Chiara Cainero and Christie Brinker of Germany. The scores, however, have steadily risen over the past four years as Rhode set a new world record of 75/75 targets at the ISSF World Cup Tucson in May. Throughout the 2011 World Cup and World Championship circuit, the minimum score required to advance to the final was 70/75 targets. The minimum score from the 2008 Olympic Games was 69 targets, so expect to see high scores posted from the Royal Artillery Barracks.

In addition to Cainero and Brinker, Rhode will have to defeat Chinese athlete Wei Ning, the current No. 3 in the world and Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova who won the silver medal at the ISSF “London Prepares” test event in April.

Format: Shooters fire from eight different designated shooting stations at a series of ‘singles’ and simultaneous ‘doubles’ from separate trap houses – high and low – located at each end of an arc of a circle of about 40 meters in diameter. Targets are released from zero to three seconds after the shooter’s call. The top-six competitors in each event advance to the 25-target finals. Qualification: 75 targets in three rounds of 25.

  • Qualification – 09:00 am – 1:00 pm (London time)
  • Finals – 2:00 – 2:40 pm (London time)
  • Television: 1:30 – 1:50 pm EASTERN — NBC Sports Network OR NBC LiveExtra Webcast

Women’s 10-meter Air Pistol
Petty Officer First Class Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.), a reservist in the U.S. Navy, will begin her first Olympic event Sunday, July 29 in Women’s 10m Air Pistol. Uptagrafft won the bronze medal at the 2011 Pan American Games and finished 8th overall at the World Championships in Munich. Husband Eric Uptagrafft, a Men’s 50m Rifle Prone athlete that competes on August 3, is away in Denmark at training camp and will watch the event online to cheer on his wife.

Sandra will face a field replete with Olympic experience and medals. In 2008, it took a 390/400 qualification points and 102.3 in the final to win by Wenjun Guo of China. Guo will represent China in London. Olena Kostevych, the 2004 Olympic champion from Ukraine, has returned to top shape and dominated the ISSF World Cup circuit as of late. Another notable contender is Olympic newbie Zorana Arunovic of Serbia.

Format: In the qualification, women shoot 40 shots in 75 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 – 09:00 – 10:15 am (London time)
  • Finals – 11:45 am – 12:05 pm (London time)

About USA Shooting

USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country. Check us out on the web at