USA Shooting's 2014 Preview: With Rio In Sight, Challenges Await

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (December 20, 2013)

2013 Junior World Championship Silver Medalist, Dania VizziIn the Olympic/Paralympic realm, your next great litmus test is always just around the corner.  The Olympic Games are certainly the peak of opportunity, but along the way are several measuring sticks to determine your program’s overall success. 

This year, 2013, was a period of great transition where athletes chose to makeover their game, temporarily remove themselves from the thrill of competition or sit in the shadows to nurse injury.  You saw this with Olympians like Kim Rhode, Jamie Gray, Matt Emmons, Amanda Furrer, Daryl Szarenski and Josh Richmond.  In their place rose competitors such as Dania Vizzi, Sarah Beard, Dempster Christenson, Emily Holsopple, Will Brown, Lydia Paterson and Ian Rupert who showcased shooting skill well beyond their years and laid down a challenge to those veteran shooters. 

Also, competitors got an up-close look at the new International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rules that have changed the game tremendously.  Sizzling qualifying scores mean little if they can’t be backed up in the new finals format. The change took its toll on even the most seasoned veterans.  Two-time Olympian Corey Cogdell equaled the world record mark in the Granada World Cup only to finish third.  Four-time Olympian Glenn Eller broke the world record mark but could only manage a fifth-place finish.  Jeff Holguin shot the best match of any competitor at the USA Shooting National Championships and still wouldn’t walk away with a national title losing in a shoot-off to Josh Richmond in the gold-medal final.  Examples of both the triumphs and tribulations of this new finals format abound, serving as a reminder of how the game as changed and the adjustments both individually and programmatically that are still ongoing. 

The landscape changes tremendously in 2014 with much more on the line and the window to Rio drawing ever closer. Olympic qualification is upon us as is the biggest competition for any Olympic-level shooter, the World Shooting Championships. Those two things alone ramp up the level of competitiveness and change the temperature of every training session and every shooting match from this point on. 

Will Brown won gold at the 2013 World Cup USA in Men's Air Pistol.USA Shooting Team athletes will have opportunity to showcase their skills to friends and family with three domestic World Cups dotting the spring landscape.  A late March test for rifle/pistol kicks-off the competitive international season as we return to Fort Benning and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), March 26-April 4. Next, the world’s best shotgun athletes return to Tucson Trap & Skeet Club for a shotgun World Cup, April 8-15. Paralympic shooting returns to Ft. Benning, June 3-8, for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup. 

These competitions, as well as the normal tests of marksmanship that pack the schedule, will serve as a prelude to a fall showdown in Granada, Spain, with the 51st World Shooting Championships as over 90 shooters are expected to participate for the Red, White and Blue.  Much smaller, but as important in terms of Olympic qualification, Confederation of Americas Shooting (CAT) Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, October 14-23, which concludes the busy international calendar in 2014. 

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