THREE POSITION

THREE POSITION

Another Heartbreak for Emmons

Four years ago in Athens, Matt Emmons of Browns Mill, NJ, was leading the men's 3-position match by three points with one shot to go in the finals. He cross-fired on that last shot, shooting the target in the lane next to his, a mistake that cost him 10 points and a medal.

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MEN'S THREE POSITION

PLACE ATHLETE QUAL. SCORE FINAL TOTAL
Gold Jian Qui 1173 99.5 1272.5
Silver Jury Sukhorukov 1174 98.4 1272.4
Bronze Rajmond Debevec 1176 95.7 1271.7
4th Matt Emmons (USA) 1175 95.3 1270.3
5th Thomas Farnik (AUT) 1171 97.9 1268.9
6th Mario Knoegler (AUT) 1170 98.4 1268.9
7th Valerian Sauveplane (FRA) 1172 95.1 1267.1
8th Vebjoern Berg (NOR) 1172 94.5 1266.5
22nd Jason Parker (USA) 1164


This year in Beijing, Emmons also led field in men's 3-position going into the last shot of the finals. All he needed was a seven or better, and at that point he'd fired only two shots that weren't 10s — and those were a 9.7 and a 9.8 (in the finals, each scoring ring is divided into tenths; a center 10 can score up to 10.9 points). But as he settled down on the last target, he got too heavy on the trigger and the shot broke before he was ready.


"As I was starting to get on the trigger, the gun just went off," he was quoted as saying on NBC's Olympic shooting website. "I was like, 'Uh, that's not going to be good.'"

USA Shooting

It wasn't. The result was a 4.4 and a fourth-place finish. Emmons went into the final in second place with an 1175 out of 1200 (399 out of 400 prone, 389 standing and a 387 kneeling). He trailed Slovenia's Rajmond Debevec by two points and had a one-point lead on his closest competitor.

That he still managed to finish fourth is an indicator of how well he'd actually performed in the first nine shots of the 10-shot final. If he'd fired just a 6.7 he would've won the gold; with a 9.3 he would've set a new Olympic mark.

But in the end it was China's Jian Qui, who entered the final in fourth place, who took the gold. He tacked a 99.5 onto his 1173 qualification score to beat Jury Sukhorukov of Ukraine by a tenth of a point. Qualification leader Debevec had a disappointing finals tally of 95.7 to finish in third place.


Emmon's U.S. teammate, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker of Omaha, NE, finished in 22nd place with an 1164 (393 prone, 384 standing, 387 kneeling).

Forty-nine athletes competed in the men's 3-position event. Final results are listed in the table.

USA's Beyerle Fifth in 3-Position


One of the United States' better chances for a rifle shooting medal slipped through its fingers in women's three-position when Jamie Beyerle of Lebanon, PA, finished in fifth place.

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WOMEN'S THREE POSITION

PLACE ATHLETE QUAL. SCORE FINAL TOTAL
Gold Li Du (CHN) 589* 101.3 690.3
Silver Katerina Emmons (CZE) 586 101.7 687.7
Bronze Eglis Yaima Cruz (CUB) 588 99.6 687.6
4th Lioubov Galkina (RUS) 585 102.4 687.4
5th Jamie Beyerle (USA) 586 100.9 686.9
6th Olga Dovgun (KAZ) 588 98.3 686.3
7th Lidija Mihajlovic (SRB) 586 100.0 686.0
8th Liuxi Wu (CHN) 585 100.9 685.9
21st Sandra Fong (USA) 577

Beyerle shot a 198 out of 200 prone, a standing score a bit on the low side at 191 — hurt by a 93 out of 100 on her first 10 shots — and a 197 kneeling to enter the final in fifth place with a 586. Beyerle fired a decent finals score of 100.9 , which unfortunately for her included an 8.7 on the last target (in the finals, each scoring ring is divided into tenths; a center 10 can score up to 10.9 points), but it wasn't enough to move her up in the standings.

By contrast, Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic had also posted a 586, but she put together a strong final of 101.7 to vault into second place, passing two women with higher qualification scores. Emmons, wife of Olympic rifle shooter Matt Emmons, had captured the gold in air rifle on the first day of the Games.

BBC

But it was China's Li Du who had the best day in three-position, setting two Olympic records with a 589 qualification score (196 prone, 194 standing, 199 kneeling) and a 690.3 total score en route to winning the gold medal. Du had finished in fifth place in the air rifle event.

Eglis Yaima Cruz of Cuba entered the final in second place with a 588 but dropped back a spot after shooting a 99.6 in the final.

The other U.S. athlete in the event, Sandra Fong of New York City, finished in 21st place with a 577 (196 prone, 185 standing, 196 kneeling).

Forty-three athletes competed in women's three-position rifle, with the top eight making the final. Results are in the accompanying table.

Olympic event since 1952 (men), 1984 (women)
2008 U.S. Olympians: Jamie Beyerle, Matt Emmons, Sandra Fong , Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker

Rifle:
Men: Rifles chambered to .22 Long Rifle not to exceed 8 kg, including all accessories; thumbhole stocks, thumb rests, heel rest and spirit levels permitted. Palm rests are permitted in the standing position. Anschutz is the leading make, with some boutique guns also found on the line.

Women: Rifles chambered to .22 Long Rifle not to exceed 6.5 kg, including all accessories; thumbhole stocks, thumb rests, heel rest and spirit levels permitted. Palm rests are permitted in the standing position. Anschutz is the leading make, with some boutique guns also found on the line

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 inch); 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:Men: 40 shots each from prone (45 minutes), standing (1 hour, 15 minutes) and kneeling (1 hour) positions--in that order. Times assume electronic scoring.

Women: 20 shots each from prone, standing and kneeling positions--in that order--in 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Finals: The top eight shooters fire a 10-shot final from the standing position, 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: As U.S. rifle coach Maj. Dave Johnson will tell you, men's three-position is the longest event in shooting at more than two hours, and in both men's and women's events, performance levels are through the roof. "It's all about prep work, working on technique. The scores are so high now," he says. "It used to be that you could just be a really good standing shot, but now you have to be a true master of all three positions."

On the men's side, the U.S. has one of the world's top-ranked shooter in Matt Emmons. A cross-fire on the last shot in the finals cost him a medal in 2004, but Johnson says Emmons is shooting well as ever and is a top pick. Teammate Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker may not be as highly ranked, but Johnson says he's definitely a contender. They'll be facing top shooters from China (which boasts the defending gold medalist in men's three position) and handful of athletes from Austria, Russia and Ukraine.

U.S. fortunes are equally bright in women's three position, where Jamie Beyerle looks to grab a medal. "Jamie's score levels are very high. She's got a bag full of medals at the World Cup level--including a silver in Milan a month ago," Johnson says. "She's the most experienced of our women competitors, and I think most coaches would rank her in the top eight in the world." Eighteen-year-old Sandra Fong is essentially a brand-new shooter, having been on the international circuit for about a year. "She works very hard," Johnson says, "and she's demonstrated she can put up the numbers to do it." Beyerle and Fong will face stiff competition from the Chinese, Russians and Germans.

Past U.S. medalists

Men
Mike Anti, silver, Athens 2004
Robert Foth, silver, 1992
Lanny Bassham, gold, Montreal 1976
John Writer, gold, Munich 1972; silver, Mexico City 1968
Lanny Bassham, gold, Montreal 1976; silver, Munich 1972
Lones Wigger, gold, Tokyo 1964

Women
Launi Meili, Barcelona 1992
Wanda Jewell, bronze, Los Angeles 1984
Margaret Murdoch, silver, Montreal 1976 (competed on equal footing with men, the last time that was done in international competition, and tied for first with Bassham but lost on tie-breaker)

Men's Olympic record: 1,177/1,200, Rajmond Debevec, Slovenia, Sydney 2000
with finals: 1,275.1 (1,177+98.1), Rajmond Debevec, Slovenia, Sydney 2000
Men's world record: 1,186/1,200, Rajmond Debevec, Slovenia, 1992
with finals: 1,287.9 (1,186+101.9), Rajmond Debevec, Slovenia, 1992
Women's Olympic record, 589/600, Renata Mauer, Poland, Atlanta 1996
with finals: 688.4 (587+101.4), Lioubov Galkina, Russia, Athens 2004
Women's world record: 594/600, Sonja Pfeilschifter, Germany, 2006
with finals: 698 (594+104.0), Sonja Pfeilschifter, Germany, 2006

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