Six USA Shooting Team members earned 2016 Olympic Team nominations based upon points they earned for outstanding performances in 2015 World Cup competition, the Shotgun World Championships, World Cup Finals and Selection Match events.
The final 14 Olympic Team members earned their spots based on Olympic Team Trials for Airgun, Smallbore and Shotgun.
Five athletes punched their tickets to Rio following the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore, which were held the first week of April in Fort Benning, Georgia. Four more athletes earned their way to the team during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun, which were held in Tillar, Arkansas in May. The final five athletes were determined following the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun, June 3-5 in Camp Perry, Ohio.
*All Team nominations are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee
Camp Perry, Ohio (June 3-5, 2016)
The top ten athletes in each discipline from the first part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun in December 2015 earned a spot to compete in Camp Perry, as long as they also had the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) from an ISSF-sanctioned event. Those who did not find themselves in the top 10 or were unable to compete at the first part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials got a second chance at a “last chance” match May 13 – 15 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From that match, an additional seven rifle athletes (three men, four women) and three pistol (one woman, two men) earned the right to advance to Camp Perry.
Four first-time Olympians punched their tickets to Rio during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun including Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) and Dan Lowe (U.S. Army Marksmanship/Olympia, Washington) in Men’s Air Rifle, Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kansas) in Women’s Air Pistol and Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) in Men’s Air Pistol.
Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts) was the only athlete to earn a repeat Olympic appearance with her win in Women’s Air Rifle. Though Scherer has been sidelined for nearly two years with two back surgeries that almost forced her out of the sport, she’s declared she’s ready to compete once again with her two Finals appearances at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, along with an Olympic Trials win.
Kozeniesky, a senior at NC State University, mathematically had one of the two Men’s Air Rifle slots locked down prior to the last day's Final with dominating, world-class Qualification scores each of the three days of competition.
Lowe was in third place overall at the conclusion of the final day's Qualification, but when Ivan Roe (Manhattan, Montana) who was in second place overall failed to qualify for the last day's Final, that left the door open for Lowe to win the requisite additional points as he picked up eight points with his Finals win to secure the second quota slot.
On the pistol side, 19-year-old Paterson threw down the most dominating overall lead of the match, beating the second-place finisher Alexis Lagan (Salt Lake City, Utah) by 24 points. On Paterson’s first day alone in Qualification, she shot a world-class score of 387 – nine points higher than her closest competitor. Though the following days’ scores weren’t quite as high, winning all three of the Finals helped assure Paterson of the comfortable lead.
The tightest race of the Olympic Trials for Airgun was in Men’s Air Pistol. Enterting the last day's Final, only one point separated eventual winner Brown from 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner (Rochester, New York). Though Brown only finished in fourth place in last Final, it gave him enough additional points to secure him the win over Turner, who finished the Final in eighth place.
Consisted of a two-part Olympic Trials with stage one taking place in Tucson, Arizona in October 2015 and the second stage taking place in Tillar, Arkansas in May 2016. Olympians were selected based on total cumulative points from four separate qualifying matches and four finals.
Women's Skeet - Kim Rhode (El Monte, California), the defending gold medalist from the 2012 Olympic Games, entered this match with a five-target lead on Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado), but continued to grow her lead over the four-day competition by hitting 241/250 targets. By the conclusion of the final day of Qualification, she had already secured the nomination in dominating fashion with her 14-target lead. Though the outcome in the Final was inconsequential, Rhode extended her lead to 16 with her first-place finish. English finished in second place and Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) finished in third. Full Recap | Part I Recap
Men's Skeet - By the conclusion of the final day of Qualification, Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) held just a four-target advantage on Hayden Stewart (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Columbia, Tennessee) and Phillip Jungman(Caldwell, Texas). Thompson would need a fourth-place finish or better to earn the required points to finalize his nomination and he did just that – finishing in fourth place in the event's second Final to best Jungman by three points. Full Recap | Part I Recap
Men's Double Trap - Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) claimed the second quota in Men’s Double Trap decisively by wrapping Qualification with a nine-target lead prior to the last Final, rendering its outcome inconsequential. Richmond finished the match, however, with a flourish - building his lead to 11 points over 2008 Olympian Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, California) who finished in second place overall. Derek Haldeman (USAMU/Sunbury, Ohio) finished in third.
Entering this final part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Richmond held a slight advantage over his USAMU teammates Holguin and Haldeman because of the additional points earned with his first-and second-place finishes in the Finals in Tucson, Arizona. Holguin has been the most consistent double trap shooter for the U.S. this quad having earned five World Cup medals including gold in the 2014 World Cup Final. After the first day of competition in Tillar, Holguin had placed himself in contention of the Olympic Team slot, finishing seven better than Richmond in the day's qualification round, putting him only three targets behind Richmond overall. On the second day's 150 qualifying targets, Richmond bested Holguin, 140-134. Over the four finals, Richmond earned 19 bonus points, to Holguin’s 10, meaning that Richmond was just two better than Holguin throughout all four Qualification rounds.
Women's Trap - Down two targets coming into the match, Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) put on such a dominating performance in qualifying she ruled the last day’s Final inconsequential.
Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado) came into the match with a two-point advantage. Halfway through, that had turned into two-point advantage for Cogdell-Unrein and it provided her just the confidence she’d need to run away from her competitors with a dominating performance in the second half of this match. Her first qualifying round of 125 targets, she shot a 116. Over the second half, she missed just three targets including a 50-straight to close things out before the Final. Her last 125 was 11 better than Ashley Carroll(Solvang, California) and 13 better than Beaman. Carroll would finish second overall, 15 targets back while Beaman wound up third, 17 targets back.
Fort Benning, Georgia (April 1, 2016)
Men's Prone Rifle -- The biggest surprise came in the Men’s Prone Rifle event where David Higgins (San Clemente, California) erased an 11-point margin against arguably one of the sport’s all-time greats in Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey). He did so by shooting a career best on the pressure-packed day with a qualification score of 629.5 while Emmons struggled to a mark of 616.8 that left him out of the Final. Higgins score was so big he had earned the nomination before the Finals even began, but that didn’t stop him from finishing in style with a win their too.
He’ll join 2012 Olympian Michael McPhail (USAMU/Darlington, Wisconsin) in the event. McPhail qualified through the Olympic Points System based on his performances internationally in 2015.
Women's Three-Position Rifle -- It’s going to be hard to beat the accomplishments teenager Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) has earned thus far in 2016: NCAA Smallbore National champion March 11; NCAA Air Rifle National champion March 12; Olympian April 4.
In March she became the first freshman in NCAA history to sweep both individual rifle titles in helping lead the Mountaineers to an 18th national championship. Now, she becomes just the third WVU female rifle athlete to represent the United States at the Olympics, and the first since 2000 Olympian Jean Foster. Foster also competed at the 1996 Olympic Games. Ann-Marie Pfiffner was the first WVU female rifle athlete to represent the United States at the 1992 Olympic Games.
Men's Free Pistol -- Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona) earned the lone Team nomination available in Men’s Free Pistol with his dominating final day performance in the competition. In the last Qualification match, Shi shot 565 – nine points above his nearest competitor and a score that would place him in most World Cup Finals – to extend his lead to 26 points.
Men's Rapid Fire Pistol --Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) becomes the second U.S. Olympic shooter ever to qualify for six Games, behind William McMillan, who appeared at every Games but one from 1952-1976. McMillan represented the U.S. at all six of his Olympic appearances and won gold in 1960.
Milev opened the qualifier by scoring 585 to hold a six-point advantage over Alexander Chichkov. He padded that lead the next day, posting a 587 for an aggregate of 1,184, 17 points up on Chichkov. In addition, Milev’s win in second day's final was only one hit shy of matching the Finals world record of 35 hits.
With his sixth Olympic team selection securely in hand, Milev wrapped up his trials competition with a flourish, surpassing the world record of 35 hits in a final to score 37, serving notice that he aiming for a podium finish in Rio.
Women's Sport Pistol -- Not only would the lone spot in Women’s Sport Pistol for the U.S. be decided in the last Final of the entire competition, it would be decided by the last shot. Once in the Final, three rounds of shoot-offs would determine who would go to the “gold-medal” and “bronze-medal” matches. Though these matches are titled as such, in this Olympic Team Trials, the first-place finisher in the Finals would win eight additional points, second place seven, third six and so on – not necessarily the medal overall. When 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) won her “bronze-medal match,” she had to wait to see how Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Florida) would finish. The way this selection was set up and how the points were awarded, if Shehaj won her “gold-medal match,” she won the Olympic slot outright. If she lost after Uptagrafft had already earned bronze, the both of them would be tied on cumulative points, and the tie-breaker of the aggregate of center shots (shots within a ring inside the 10-ring of the target) would determine the winner. If it came to that, Uptagrafft would win, 56-46.
Shehaj would face Nathalie Granados (New York, New York) in the “gold-medal match.” The pair would continue to tie each other round after round, until Shehaj finally bested Granados on the final shot on the final target to win the match, along with the Olympic Team slot.
|Discipline||Quota 1||Quota 2|
|Men's Free||James Henderson -
WC Benning (May '15)
|Men's Air||Will Brown - CAT (Oct. '14)|
|Men's Rapid Fire||Keith Sanderson - WC Munich (May '15)||Brad Balsley - PAG (July '15)|
|Women's Sport||Sandra Uptagrafft - PAG (July '15)|
|Women's Air||Lydia Paterson - WC Munich (May '15)|
|Men's Prone||Matt Emmons - WC Changwon (April '15)||Michael McPhail - WC Benning
|Men's Air||Dempster Christenson - CAT (Oct. '14)||Connor Davis - PAG (July '15)|
|Men's 3P||George Norton - PAG (July '15)|
|Women's Air||Sarah Beard - WC Benning (May '15)|
|Women's 3P||Amy Sowash - WC Benning (May '15)|
|Women's Skeet||Brandy Drozd - WChamps (Sept. '14)||Kim Rhode - WC Acapulco
|Men's Skeet||Vincent Hancock - WC Acapulco
|TJ Bayer - PAG (July '15)|
|Men's Double Trap||Josh Richmond - WChamps (Sept. '14)||Jeff Holguin - WC Acapulco
|Women's Trap||Corey Cogdell-Unrein - WC Acapulco
- A quota spot is essentially the entry ticket necessary for a country to compete in Olympic competition in a particular discipline. A country is allowed to earn up to two quotas in each event, and an athlete can win only one quota for his/her country - regardless of the discipline.
- When an athlete wins an Olympic quota, it does not guarantee him/her a slot on the Olympic team. Olympic team slots will be determined through a separate selection procedure.
- See the rest of the international Olympic quota winners by event or country here.
Individual selection for the Olympic Games will come via two different paths, either by the Olympic Points System or Olympic Team Selection Competitions. A point system was used again given athletes the opportunity to earn points by virtue of their finishes at 2015 World Cups, World Champs, World Cup Final and designated selection competitions. After the 2015 World Cup Final, the athlete with the most points who meets or exceeds the point threshold of 25 points (for Rifle/Pistol) and 30 points (for Shotgun) and has earned at least one medal at a 2015 World Cup competition, World Cup Finals (rifle & pistol only) or World Championships (shotgun only), was nominated to the Olympic Team depending upon quotas earned in each event.
In Rifle/Pistol, the first quota slot will be awarded to the Point System Winner. All other quota slots in each event (if available) will be awarded to the highest-ranked finisher(s) at the Olympic Team Selection Competitions.
In Shotgun, the first quota will be awarded to the highest-ranked finisher(s) at the Olympic Team Selection Competitions. All other quota slots in each event (if available) will be awarded to the Olympic Point System winner.
Olympic Team Selection Competitions will consist of multiple courses of fire as defined below. If there are no Olympic Points System winners in an event, all team members will be determined by the Olympic Team Selection Competitions up to the number of quotas earned in the respective event. To be eligible for a team slot via Olympic Team Selection Competition, an athlete must earn their Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) by March 31, 2016. More information about MQS can be found here.
Airgun – 2015 Winter Airgun Championships (December, 3 courses of fire) + Rifle/Pistol Air Olympic Trials (June 3, 2 courses of fire)
Smallbore – 2016 Olympic Team Selection for Smallbore (April, 3 courses of fire)
Shotgun – 2015 Fall Selection Match (October, 2 courses of fire) + 2016 Spring Selection Match (May, 2 courses of fire)
|Morgan Craft - OLYMPIC NOMINATION SECURED||55|
|Finals Points Earned||6th/Acapulco= 5||0/Al Ain||3rd/Larnaca = 10||2nd/Gabala = 14||3rd /Nationals or Final Selection = 1||1st/SH World Champs = 25|
|Finals Points Earned||2nd/Acapulco = 14||5th/Al Ain = 5||0/Larnaca||5th/Gabala = 5||1st/Nationals = 3||2nd/SH World Champs = 20|
|Finals Points Earned||1st/Acapulco = 17||0/Al Ain||0/Larnaca||0/Gabala||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3||0/SH World Champs|
|Vincent Hancock - OLYMPIC NOMINATION SECURED||69|
|Finals Points Earned||1st/Acapulco = 17||4th/Al Ain = 7||0/Larnaca||17/Gabala||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3||1st /SH World Champs = 25|
|Men's Double Trap|
|Glenn Eller - OLYMPIC NOMINATION SECURED||32|
|Finals Points Earned||6th/Acapulco = 5||0/Al Ain||0/Larnaca||1st/Gabala = 17||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3||6th/SH World Champs = 7|
|Finals Points Earned||3rd/Acapulco = 10||4th/Al Ain = 7||0/Larnaca||0/Gabala||1st/Nationals or FInal Selection = 3||0/SH World Champs|
|Finals Points Earned||1st/Acapulco = 17||0/Al Ain||0/Larnaca||0/Gabala||0/Nationals||0/SH World Champs|
|Finals Points Earned||1st/Acapulco = 17||0/Al Ain||6th/Larnaca = 5||3rd/Gabala = 10||1st /Nationals or Final Selection = 3||0/SH World Champs|
|Finals Points Earned||4th/Acapulco = 7||0/Al Ain||0/Larnaca||0/Gabala||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3||0/SH World Champs|
|Men's 3P Rifle|
|Matt Emmons - OLYMPIC NOMINATION SECURED||33|
|Finals Points Earned||2nd/Changwon = 12||3rd/Benning = 8||0/Munich||/Gabala||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3||1st WC Finals = 10|
|Michael McPhail - OLYMPIC NOMINATION SECURED||47|
|Finals Points Earned||0/Changwon||1st/Benning = 15||1st/Munich = 15||7th/Gabala = 4||1st/Nationals or Final Selection= 3||1st WC Finals = 10|
|Finals Points Earned||1st/Changwon = 15||8th/Benning = 3||0/Munich||2nd/Gabala = 12||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3|
|Men's Rapid Fire Pistol|
|Keith Sanderson - OLYMPIC NOMINATION SECURED||25|
|Finals Points Earned||0/Changwon||6th/Benning = 5||2nd/Munich = 12||6th/Gabala = 5||1st/Nationals or Final Selection = 3|
- New Rules - International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rule changes in 2013 regarding finals were substantial. Those changes were arguably more significant than all changes made in the sport format from 1986 to 2012. 2013 was the implementation year for changes to Finals procedures. These changes were made at the encouragement of the IOC broadcasting group in an effort once again to make our sport more attractive to a TV and live audience. The athletes have had two years to make the big adjustment and the Finals have become more thrilling with its zero-start format.
- Will Brown – This Idaho native has emerged as a top medal contender in both Air and Free Pistol events having won a 2013 World Cup medal and earning top-eight finishes in both events in 2015.
Keith Sanderson -- This two-time Olympian had arm surgery post-2012, and that has seemingly rejuvenated his career as he’s now an almost certain lock to make his event finals every time he competes. The 2014 USA Shooting Athlete of the Year, he’s anxious to not only compete in Rio, but to emerge victorious.
- Matt Emmons – The three-time Olympic medalist has comprised a body of work that suggests he’s at the head of his class in the history of this sport. Simply put, Matt Emmons is one of the best marksmen in history, taking his place alongside this sport’s legendary figures. Now in the twilight of his career and another Olympic Games squarely in his sights, he’s acutely aware that the time to add to his shooting legacy is fleeting. If he’s able to step on the podium for a fourth time in four Olympic Games, it would be another shining moment.
- Michael McPhail – As a shooter, Michael McPhail has all the qualities of a good bird dog: instinct, aggression, confidence, intelligence, trainability and good lineage. It’s an easy comparison to make given McPhail’s love of training quality bird dogs born from a hunting pedigree dating back to the start of his teenage years. One of the top Prone Rifle shooters in the world, the 2012 Olympian has earned 10 medals in international competition during his career including two World Cup wins in 2015. He missed an the Olympic Finals in 2012 by just three-tenths of a point, but this time he’s more intense, efficient, focused and ready to grab the prize he seeks.
- More Medal Opportunity - The big change related to the Shotgun discipline since London aside from a different Finals format is the opportunity for two female participants in both shotgun events. Through 2012, only one female athlete per country could participate. That changed after 2012 giving shotgun-strong countries like the United States the opportunity to send an additional female participant. As of August 5, the U.S. is still looking to earn a second quota in Women's Trap after Corey Cogdell-Unrein did so at World Cup Acapulco earlier in 2015. Kim Rhode and Brandy Drozd both ensured that the U.S. would have two participants in Skeet.
- Kim Rhode -- Domination and the pursuit of perfection hasn't become a once-in-a-while thing but rather a full-time occupation for the five-time Olympian Rhode who now owns a U.S. Olympic record of five medals in five consecutive Olympic Games. With that medal, she became the first U.S. athlete to win an individual medal in five consecutive Olympic Games, moving ahead of such big names as Carl Lewis and Al Oerter. Rhode's third Olympic gold medal is the most by a female shooter - she also has a silver and a bronze to complete the set. By competing in the Women's Trap event in London where she finished ninth, Rhode also became the first shooter to compete in all three shotgun events (trap, double trap, skeet).
She’s not finished yet, however. Despite having a baby boy in May 2013, she’s returned to form ever since winning four World Cup medals including three World Cup victories. After carrying the flag for Team USA into the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Pan American Games, she then went out and earned Pan American gold while in Toronto.
- Corey Cogdell-Unrein -- This two-time Olympian is still at the top of her game and is hoping to revisit the medal success she found as a 21-year-old bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympic Games. Having married NFL defensive lineman Mitch Unrein in 2014, this intense competitor has renewed energy and is ready to bust targets all the way to Rio.
- Vincent Hancock -- At the medalist press conference in London following his second consecutive gold-medal run in Men’s Skeet, Vincent Hancock was already eyeing Rio: “Knowing that I want to go back and build my legacy is what I am going for now,” he said at the time. “It’s not just the number of medals; it’s what else can I do, how big can I grow this sport and how many people can I introduce to it.” With his drive and competitive desire restored, the world's best skeet shooters might be lining up behind him for a long time to come.
- Will Brown (July 2013): http://content.yudu.com/A2bgh4/July2013/resources/14.htm
- Lydia Paterson (May 2014): http://content.yudu.com/A2uav3/May2014/resources/38.htm
- Keith Sanderson (May 2015): http://content.yudu.com/A3nq42/May2015/resources/40.htm
- Enkelejda Shehaj (May 2016): http://content.yudu.com/web/y5b2/0A1zosy/May2016Q2Mag/flash/resources/44.htm
- Jay Shi (May 2016): http://content.yudu.com/web/y5b2/0A1zosy/May2016Q2Mag/flash/resources/54.htm
- Emil Milev (May 2016): http://content.yudu.com/web/y5b2/0A1zosy/May2016Q2Mag/flash/resources/58.htm
- Michael McPhail (2014 Year in Review): http://content.yudu.com/A39lff/YearInReview2014/resources/58.htm
- Matt Emmons (March 2015): http://content.yudu.com/A3hnuc/March2015/resources/18.htm
- Ginny Thrasher (May 2016): http://content.yudu.com/web/y5b2/0A1zosy/May2016Q2Mag/flash/resources/48.htm
- David Higgins (May 2016): http://content.yudu.com/web/y5b2/0A1zosy/May2016Q2Mag/flash/resources/52.htm
- Glenn Eller (March 2016):
- Vincent Hancock (July 2015): http://content.yudu.com/A3qp9d/July2015/resources/40.htm
- Kim Rhode (July 2015): http://content.yudu.com/A3qp9d/July2015/resources/44.htm
- Kim Rhode (Shotgun): "It's that moment on the podium, watching the flag going to the top of the pole, hearing the national anthem, and remembering the journey it took to get there. That's what I remember most and it is that moment that has me excited to see how this journey will go in Rio 2016. I've trained hard and I know that there's nothing else I could have done. Now, it is time to have fun in the final competitions leading up to Rio!"
- Matt Emmons (Rifle): "One year out from Rio – great! Let’s get this party started! Personally, I’m really happy with where I’m at. Things are progressing well and I’m looking forward to the next year of training and competitions. Of course, I’m not qualified for the Olympic Team yet, but that’s the goal. Qualify and then go to Rio feeling strong and intent on performing great. I live for those moments, so that’s what’s lighting my fire every day."
"I’m also really looking forward to seeing what my team does next year. I truly believe we have so much potential for greatness. If everyone does their part (athletes and staff), works hard in their respective areas, and works to create that exciting and positive environment we’ve had in the past, there’s no telling what we can do. It’s going to be fun!"
Frank Thompson (Shotgun): "I am very excited about 2016. Rio is where I won a silver medal and a quota slot last Quad so I know the range, and I feel good about it. After competing in the 2012 Games, I know I want to go back. It was a great experience and I know I can take it further since I'm shooting even better now than I was before."
- Emil Milev (Pistol): "I feel excited to be once again in the run towards the greatest sports forum on the planet. I feel that the experience I accumulated this past season will be beneficial and I'm ready to build upon it. I know I have a lot to catch up on, and it will take an enormous amount of work and effort, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge. And I know I'm not alone, with the support of my family, my coach Vladimir, the national coach Sergey Luzov, USA Shooting, and my principal, Anthony Montoto, at BT Washington Elementary School. I feel stronger being part of such a great team."
- Lydia Paterson (Pistol): “I never really had an Olympic dream. I never thought I would be able to train hard enough to acquire the skills needed to compete at the International level. After making many sacrifices and spending countless hours on the range, my sport has transformed from a hobby into a passion. This season has been my most successful year yet and winning an Olympic quota in June has brought my Olympic dream to life. I am determined to earn my place on the 2016 Olympic Team. I have learned to never say never and to chase my dreams no matter how far away they may seem.”
With only a few months until the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and USA Shooting is excited about our prospects as we have Rio in Sight.
Looking Back…London 2012
USA Shooting history was made in January 2012 with the naming of the 2012 Paralympic Games Team. For the first time ever, USA Shooting sent athletes to compete in the Paralympic Games after having formed a Paralympic division following the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The U.S. was represented by Eric Hollen (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and SFC Josh Olson (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit / Spokane, Washington). Hollen placed 14th in P1 (Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1) and 23rd in P4 (Mixed 50m Free Pistol SH1). Olson placed 12th in R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1) and 28th in R3 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1).
Scene in ‘16
Not only are Paralympic shooting opportunities growing worldwide, but similar results are present within USA Shooting. From the program’s beginning in 2008 to two Paralympic competitors in London at the 2012 Paralympic Games, the program has grown tremendously in the past three years. Five Olympic Training Center resident athletes and the U.S. Army’s Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Paralympic Section have strengthened the overall outlook.
Though robust changes in the rules governing the sport have brought some anxiety and uncertainty, USA Shooting has a strong start on building its number of quota slots as qualification for the Paralympic Games began at the IPC Shooting World Championships last summer. Mike Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) and McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) earned quota slots for the U.S. in P3 (Mixed 25m Pistol SH1) and R4 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Standing SH2) respectively. The completion of the 2016 Paralympic Team was decided after the IPC World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand where quota slots were earned by Tammy Delano (Rome, New York), John Joss (USAMU/ Corsicana, Texas), and Jazmin Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas). Almlie-Ryan will be joining Dahl in R4 and R5 disciplines. Joss will be competing in R3 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1) and R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1). Delano will also be shooting R3 and will also participate in R2 (Women's10m Air Rifle Standing SH). Please also read recent article on our Paralympians here.
McKenna Dahl: The International Paralympic Committee named Dahl one of the “Top 10 Para-Athletes You Should Like Before 2016” noting “expect her to be huge come Rio 2016.” That’s tall billing for the recent high school graduate turned Olympic Training Center Resident Athlete who earned her R4 Paralympic quota at last year’s World Championships.
Mike Tagliapietra: The IPC recently listed Tagliapietra, currently one of the top athletes in P3 (Mixed 25m Pistol SH1) as one of their “Top Pistol Shooters to Look Out For” at the IPC Shooting World Championships where he qualified for and competed in P1, P3 and P4 — the most events of any U.S. competitor.
John Joss: The IPC named Joss to the Paralympic Team after earning a quota for the US in R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1) at the IPC World Cup in Bangkok where he placed fifth in this discipline.
Tammy Delano: Delano, a member of the Paralympic National Team, secured a quota for the 2016 Paralympic Games during the last possible opportunity - the 2015 IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning, Georgia. She also picked up the first medal of her career in a Paralympic Games event when she won bronze in the R2 (Women's10m Air Rifle Standing SH) event.
Jazmin Almlie-Ryan: Almlie-Ryan secured her ticket to Rio in Bangkok with a fourth place finish in R4 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Standing SH2) as well as a sixth place finish in R5 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2).
Jazmin Almlie-Ryan: "With the Paralympic Games approaching next year, words cannot express the tremendous amount of excitement I have. Something I've been working towards is so close that I can just reach out and touch it, and that truly is an amazing feeling. Sure, 5 years ago when I began this journey, I told myself that I'd 1 day make it to being 1 of the top shooters in the United States and eventually represent this country at the Paralympic Games, but now that we are here, now in the present, and that dream is becoming reality, I can't express the amount of pride that I have. The countless hours of training, the competition experiences (good and bad), and the sheer dedication it has taken to compete at this level has paid off. Of course with the excitement, comes a little apprehension, naturally. As in life, nothing is set in stone, and many things can happen in a year's time. The mental approach I'm taking to this is that I'm simply going to keep doing what I know how to do. I know how to put the hours in, I know how to shoot the scores necesary to reach the top of the podium, and I certainly know the passion one has to have to achieve this ultimate goal. If I continue with this method, I feel the outcome will take care of itself. I look forward to this next year greatly as a year of tremendous growth, not only on the range, but in all areas of my life. The journey thus far has been an amazing one, and I look forward to continuing on this path with the ultimate goal of representing this awesome country at the 2016 Paralympic Games!"
Only 150 quota slots (100 male, 50 female) are available for Paralympic shooters in 12 medal events, marking the first quota increase for the sport in 25 years. Slots are awarded via direct quota allocation to the nation — similar to Olympic quotas — versus the previous Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) slot allocation. When an athlete wins a quota, it guarantees the nation a place at the Paralympic Games in that specific event, not the athlete.
Only one athlete can obtain one quota slot for a nation in any event and a nation can be allocated a maximum of 12 quota slots (maximum of eight from one gender). The 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships marked the first opportunity for athletes to earn quota slots, along with the 2015 IPC World Cups in Croatia, Australia and Fort Benning, Georgia.
Athletes nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team has been selected by a committee based on Paralympic competition performance.