August 2008

USA's Emmons Mines Silver in Men's Prone

Defending Olympic gold medalist in men's prone, Matt Emmons of Brownsville, NJ, captured the silver medal at the Beijing Games. In an event where perfection is the norm, Emmons dropped a point in his first 10 shots and fired a 98 out of 100 in his third 10-shot string to finish the qualification round with a 597 out 600—two points behind Artur Ayvazian of Ukraine, the eventual gold medalist.

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Gold Artur Ayvasian (UKR) 599 103.7 702.7
Silver Matt Emmons (USA) 597 104.7 701.7
Bronze Warren Potent (AUS) 595 105.5 700.5
4th Vebjoern Berg (NOR) 596 103.1 699.1
5th Konstantin Prikhodtchenko (RUS) 595 104.0 699.0
6th Valerian Sauveplane (FRA) 594 104.8 698.8
7th Juha Hirvi (FIN) 595 103.5 698.5
8th Sergei Martynov (BLR) 595 103.3 698.3

But Emmons held a one-point lead over his nearest competitors, and he successfully defended that edge throughout the 10-shot final—tallying a solid 104.7 (in the finals, each scoring ring is divided into tenths; a center 10 can score up to 10.9 points) in the final to take the silver, gaining a full point on Ayvazian in the process.

Warren Potent of Australia went into the final in fourth place with a 595, but he surpassed Norway's Vebjoern Berg by more than two points in the final—105.5 to 103.1—to snatch the bronze away from the Norwegian by 1.4 points.

Maj. Mike Anti of Winterville, NC, missed out on the eight-man final and finished ninth, losing a tie-breaker decision to France's Valerian Sauveplane. Both men fired 594 qualification scores, but Sauveplane's last strings (100, 100, 99) bested Anti's (99, 100, 99).

Fifty-six athletes competed in the men's prone event, the top eight making the finals round. Results are listed in the accompanying table.

Olympic event since 1912
2008 U.S. Olympians: Maj. Mike Anti , Matt Emmons

Rifle: Rifles chambered to .22 Long Rifle not to exceed 8 kg; thumbhole stocks, thumb rests, heel rest and spirit levels permitted. Anschutz is the leading make.

Range: 50 meters

Scoring: Target is 154.4mm (6.08 inches) wide, with scoring rings 1-10. Black portion (rings 3.5 to 10) is 112.4mm. The 10-ring is 10.4mm (0.41 inches); inner-10-ring is 5mm. In finals competition, scoring rings are divided into tenths. Maximum is 10.9 for a center-shot 10.

Course of fire: 60 shots prone in 1 hour, 15 minutes (assuming electronic scoring is used).Finals: The top eight shooters fire a 10-shot final, one shot at a time, with a time limit of 75 seconds for each. Scores are announced and final tallies updated after each shot.

What to watch for: "Prone is the ultimate accuracy game," U.S. rifle coach Maj. Dave Johnson says. "It's like putting at the Masters--it's precision plus art." And when asked who the best in the world are, he didn't hesitate for a second: "The U.S." Matt Emmons is the defending Olympic gold medalist and the favorite to win it again. His teammate, Mike Anti, won a silver in three-position at the 2004 Games--and is a three-time Olympian to boot--so he's used to the pressure. "Mike's had more success as a three-position shooter, but he's been shooting great and I think he'll do really well." The U.S. duo will be facing top-ranked S

ergey Martinov of Belarus, as well as contenders from Russia, Israel and a handful of other countries.

Past U.S. medalists
Matt Emmons, gold, Athens 2004
Ed Etzel, gold, Los Angeles 1984
Victor Auer, silver, Munich 1972
Lones Wigger, silver, Tokyo 1964
Tommy Pool, bronze, Tokyo 1964
Arthur Jackson, bronze, Helsinki 1952
Arthur Cook, gold, London 1948
Walter Tomsen, silver, London 1948

Olympic record: 600/600, Christian Klees, Germany, Atlanta 1996
with finals: 704.8 (600+104.8), Christian Klees, Germany, Atlanta 1996
World record: 600/600, 13 tied
with finals: 704.8 (600+104.8), Christian Klees, Germany, Atlanta 1996


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