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Alumni Association - Best Team Ever?

The Best Team Ever? by Ray P. Carter

The Best Team Ever?

 

A very good case could be made to argue that this team was the greatest team in history!

 

In 1973 they set all four possible smallbore free rifle team World Records at the Championships of the Americas in Mexico City.

  • They broke the 3x40 record by 24 points and that record stood until the team size was changed from four to three in 1983.
  • They broke the prone team record by 8 points and that record stood until the team size change in 1983.
  • They broke the kneeling team record by six points and it stood until 1981.
  • They broke the standing team record by four points and broke it again the next year by 10 points at the 1974 World Shooting Championships.

In 1974 they won the World Shooting Championships in Thun, Switzerland and set a world record in the smallbore free rifle standing event. What was really impressive was that they placed 1,2,3,4 in the Smallbore Free Rifle 3x40 event!

 

1974 World Champions
The same team won the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City.

1975 Pan American Games Champions

 

Their individual records during this period are also amazing:

  • 1972 - John H. Writer - Olympic Gold Medal, 50m Smallbore Free Rifle. World Record 50m 3x40 - 1166, World Record 50m standing - 381
  • 1972 - Lanny R. Bassham - Olympic Silver Medal, 50m Smallbore Free Rifle.
  • 1972 - Lones W. Wigger, Jr. - Olympic Gold Medal, 300m Free Rifle. World Record 300m standing - 379
  • 1973 - Lones W. Wigger, Jr. - World Record 50m 3x40 - 1167
  • 1974 - Lones W. Wigger, Jr. - World Record 50m standing - 383
  • 1974 - John Writer - World Record 50m prone - 400
  • 1974 - John Writer - World Champion, 50m Smallbore Free Rifle.
  • 1974 - Lanny Bassham - World Champion, 300m Free Rifle 3x40; World Champion, 300m Free Rifle Prone; World Champion, 300m Free Rifle Standing.
  • 1975 - Margaret Murdock - World Record 50m standing - 385
  • 1976 - Lanny R. Bassham - Olympic Gold Medal, 50m Smallbore Free Rifle.
  • 1976 - Margaret Murdock - Olympic Silver Medal, 50m Smallbore Free Rifle.

John Writer and Margaret Murdock retired from international shooting in mid-1976. Lanny Bassham took 1977 off due to work requirements, but came back in 1978 to win several more World Championships in Seoul, Korea. Lones W. Wigger, Jr. continued shooting, winning and setting World Records before retiring after the 1986 World Shooting Championships to become the full-time Director of the U.S. Shooting Team.

 

All four have been inducted in the USA Shooting Hall of Fame.

 

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