One Year to Go: Rio in Sight for USA Shooting Paralympic Athletes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (September 4, 2015)

Not only does September 7 commemorate Labor Day this year in the United States, but it also marks a year out to the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and USA Shooting is excited about our prospects working toward Paralympic glory.

Rio in Sight
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 strength of 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 International Paralympic Committee 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. 

Tagliapietra, along with Dahl and rifle athletes Tammy Delano (Rome, New York), Nick Beach (Dresden, Ohio), Israel del Toro (Cibolo, Texas), John Joss (USAMU/Corsicana, Texas) and pistol athletes Shaun Tichenor (USAMU/Brainerd, Minnesota) and Len Esparza (Cupertino, California) will compete in the IPC World Cup in Sydney, Australia September 15 – 19 in hopes of building on that Paralympic quota count. Look for a preview of this World Cup next Friday.

“We approach one-year out with great anticipation, but also with lots of unknowns since we still have two World Cups in which to earn quotas,” said Paralympic National Team Coach Bob Foth.  “We’re assured two spots in Rio already and we’re really striving to obtain more, despite the greater resources and competitive experience of many of those we’re competing against.  The depth we’ve added to our program since 2012 is enormous and that translates into more Paralympic opportunity for more athletes. We’ll see who seizes the opportunities coming up.  No matter how it turns out, we’re proud of how far we’ve come and have great hopes for the future.” 

Learn more about our athletes at the 2012 Paralympic Games, selection procedures and the athletes to watch as we approach 2016 at

Paralympic Qualification
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. As of today, the U.S. has earned only two Paralympic quotas – the ones won by Tagliapietra and Dahl at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships.

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 later in November.

Athletes nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team will be selected by a committee based on Paralympic competition performance. The Team will be named on or by July 31, 2016.


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