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OLYMPIC SHOOTING: Women’s 10m Air Pistol & Women’s Trap PREVIEW

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 6, 2016)

Sunday’s Olympic shooting competition will bring about the Olympic beginning for promising pistol shooter Lydia Paterson, an Olympic return 20 years in the making for her teammate Enkelejda Shehaj and the first shotgun event of the Games as three-time Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unreinseeks to add another medal to her collection in Women’s Trap. 

Cogdell-Unrein will be out to try and match or better an Olympic performance from 2008 in which she earned an Olympic bronze medal.  She was 11th in London and ever since has gone about getting even better while completely reconstructing her shooting approach.  The results of those changes have shown in her World Cup performances as she has earned four World Cup medals since 2013.  The 29-year-old is married to Chicago Bears defensive lineman Mitch Unrein.  

ATHLETE EXTRA:  Read how Corey and Mitch are Fueled by Mutual Competitiveness 

Cogdell-Unrein will be up against 20 other athletes including defending Olympic champion Jessica Rossi.  Cogdell-Unrein and Rossi share the qualifying world record having hit all 75 targets. Lebanon’s Ray Bassil is the current world No. 1.  

FORMAT: During qualification, every competitor has to shoot 75 targets, divided in three rounds of 25 targets each. Every round involves up to six athletes, who shoot from stations number 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 rotating from left to right and shooting five times from each station. During qualification, two shots may be fired at each target, except for the shoot-offs, when only one shot may be fired. The top six athletes from the qualification phase advance to the semifinal round, where they shoot 15 targets each from stations number 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The top-two athletes from the semifinal round advance to the gold-medal match, while the third and fourth-best semifinalists advance to the bronze-medal match. The two finalists shoot 15 targets from stations number 2, 3 and 4. During the semifinals and medal matches and during the shoot-offs, only one shot may be fired at each target. All ties are broken by shoot-offs. 

Lydia Paterson. Photo credit Brad Armstrong.Qualification – 8:00 – 11:40 a.m. ET

Finals – 2:00 p.m. ET | FINALS LIVESTREAM starting at 2:00 p.m. ET

After becoming one of the youngest people ever to make a USA Shooting National Team in 2012 at age 16, Paterson will be making her Olympic debut in Rio in Women’s Air Pistol. This, however, won’t be her first time on the international stage. Paterson has participated in six World Cups since 2013 including the 2014 World Cup in Munich where she placed eighth with an impressive 386, a score she beat during Olympic Trials in June 2016. 

“After making many sacrifices and spending countless hours on the range, my sport has transformed from a hobby into a passion,” she said. “I have learned to never say never and to chase my dreams no matter how far away they may seem.” 

This will be a return to the Olympic stage for Shehaj who, after a 20-year absence from the sport, returns to represent TEAM USA. Shehaj competed in two Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996 for Albania before moving to the U.S. in 1999.  She finished 21st in Atlanta during her only Olympic showing in Air Pistol. She has competed in 12 World Cups and three World Championships. To say she understands the pressure of competing at such a high level would certainly be an understatement. Shehaj won her ticket to Rio at the U.S. Olympic Trials for Smallbore in Women’s Sport pistol, which she will be competing in on Tuesday. 

ATHLETE EXTRA: Learn about Shehaj’s Rejuvenated Olympic Dream   

The current woman to beat is Olena Kostevych representing the Ukraine with a very successful last four years and currently ranked No. 1 in the world. Kostevych took bronze in London 2012 where the defending champion, Wenjun Guo of China, took her second consecutive gold medal. Neither has been able to meet the world record of 393/400 points set by Svetlana Smirnova of Russia in May 1998.   The U.S. has never medaled or event made a Final in the event since the event debuted in 1988. The highest U.S. finisher to date has been Beki Snyder (2004) and Kim Dyer (2008) who both finished tied for 16th. 

Format:  In qualification, competitors fire 40 shots within 50 minutes. The shots are fired in the standing position 10m (33 feet) from a 10-ring target, aiming at a bullseye 11.5mm in diameter, or approximately the size of a dime. The qualifications are scored in integer points, with the maximum score per shot being 10 points, and the maximum qualification score being 400 points. The top-eight athletes from the qualification phase advance to the final match, where they can shoot up to 20 final shots. The eight finalists start the match with 0 points: the qualification score is not carried forward into the final round. The maximum score for each shot is still 10.9 points, because of an additional set of 10 rings within the 10-point circle that increases the score of 0.1 points as it approaches the center of the target. The final begins with two series of 3 shots, to be fired within 150 seconds, followed by 14 single shots to be fired on command and within 50 seconds. After the eighth final shot, the athlete with the lowest aggregate score is eliminated from the final and places eighth. Any following elimination is determined every two shots until the gold and silver medalists are decided by the 20th and conclusive shot. If there is a tie for the lowest ranking athlete to be eliminated, the tied athletes will fire additional tie-breaking single shots until the tie is broken. 

Qualification – 8:00 – 8:50 a.m. ET

Finals – 10:00 a.m. ET | FINALS LIVESTREAM starting at 10:00 a.m. ET

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