The Team USA shooting team took the Olympics by storm and won 6 medals at the 2020 games.
Matt Suggs, the CEO of USA Shooting was proud of his team’s performance.
“I’m proud of the contributions made by every member of this team. In a period when training and competitions have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our shooters came prepared to compete and win.
It’s been an incredibly difficult year for our coaches and athletes to prepare for these games. We had to make some difficult decisions about which competitions to shoot and which ones to forego.
Our national team coaches, Jay Waldron, Jason Turner, Dan Durben, and the rest of the staff made the right decisions balancing the risks of travel abroad with the need to prepare, and that paid off for us in Tokyo.”
As we mentioned before the Olympics started, Team USA’s ability to outshoot opponents is what liberated our nation from the British Crown and allowed America to win back to back World Wars.
It also allowed Team USA to turn in the best performance of any shooting team in the Olympics this year. This was the best American competitive shooting performance at the Olympic games since 1963.
Army Lieutenant Amber English broke an Olympic record to take home a gold medal in women’s skeet shooting when she broke 56 of a possible 60 targets.
“All I could control was just my own shooting and my own emotions. I trained hard and was fortunate to be able to put it together at the right time.
I’m very, very glad. This has been a long time coming.”
Vincent Hancock took home a gold medal for Team USA in men’s skeet shooting as well. He also broke an Olympic record by missing just one target to put up a score of 59. It is Hancock’s 3rd gold medal, having previously finished first in both the 2008 and 2012 games.
He is the only shooter in the history of the event to win gold more than once. The 32-year-old Texan already has his sites set on the next Olympic Games in Paris, because being the best skeet shooter in the world is something that he says never gets old.
“It’s unbelievable I was able to get another gold medal. I’m going to appreciate this one for as long as possible.
I let out some pretty good yells and a little fist pump, a little Tiger-esque fist pump, and it felt good. Felt great. Oh my goodness. It still doesn’t feel real that I was able to do it again.”
William Shaner also won a gold model in the Men’s Air Rifle Event. He set a new Olympic record in the event with a score of 251.6, narrowly edging out a Chinese shooter by just decimal points to win. The 20 year-old University of Kentucky student from Colorado is the youngest American to ever win a rifle event at the Olympics.
“We’ve been trying to get a medal in this event for a long time. So, it was nice to bring it back home now.”
In addition to the 3 gold medals, Team USA shooters also took home two silvers and a bronze as well.
Mary Tucker and Lucas Kozeniesky finished second in the Mixed Team Air Rifle event, losing a tense shootout to the Chinese team in the final rounds.
Kayle Browning from Arkansas also home a silver in the Women’s Trap Shooting event. After a slow start and a couple misses to kick off the event she turned it on, hitting 19 straight shots at one point and breaking 14 of her last 15 targets.
Team USA’s one bronze medal in the shooting events came in the Team Trap competition and was won by Maddy Bernau and Brian Burrows.
This is the third time that the U.S. shooting team has won three gold models at the Olympics since 1964, but its the highest combination of medals since then. The team won 3 golds, 1 Silver, and 2 bronzes at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angles and 2 gold, 2 silvers, and 2 bronzes at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
In addition to obviously trying to win, the U.S. shooting team is also working hard on trying to change the negative narrative that often surrounds gun culture and shooting sports.
It was an eye-opening experience for many of the team members, as they left a country with some of the most free gun laws in the world for a country with some of the strictest. In addition to mountains of paperwork and extensive rules about how the team had to store their firearms when not using them, it was somewhat difficult to get enough ammunition to practice with compared to what the team was used to.
For the team to have their ammo supply replenished, they had to check in each time with a local distributor each to confirm their previous allotment of ammo had all been used.
“To become a gold medalist, it takes a lot of ammo. Every couple of days, we’re putting in additional purchase orders for more.”
In addition to his current role as the CEO of USA Shooting, Suggs is also a former competitive shooter himself and he’s hoping that the teams excellent performance in this years games increased the popularity of shooting sports in the U.S.
“There’s not a lot of interest in shooting in the U.S., so hopefully us bringing our medal count up to six will help.
The public focus is too much on guns that look scary and guns that you see on TV shows being used to commit crimes or on the news being used to commit crimes. Our athletes, they understand that they have a role to play in promoting the proper and responsible use of firearms.
It’s not a controversial thing, to go out and shoot a round of skeet or shoot a round of trap. The more we can get people exposed to the sport, the less they’ll identify gun ownership with what they see on the evening news.”