Rifle Athletes Look to Build on R3 and R4 Performances at Paralympic Games

RIO DE JANEIRO (September 10, 2016)

Team USA’s rifle athletes who competed today at the 2016 Paralympic Games may not have had the scores they were hoping for in R3 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1) and R4 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Standing SH2), but these first-time Paralympians feel they’ve gained the experience to shine in their upcoming Prone Rifle matches.

The day started off with the R3 event in which John Joss (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Corsicana, Texas, pictured right) finished in 40th place (618.8) and Tammy Delano (Rome, New York, pictured left) finished in 42nd place (617.8).

“My fingers started getting numb towards the end of the match and I couldn’t feel the trigger very well, so I was trying to feel it out and it broke,” Joss said, meaning the shot went off earlier than he had intended it to. Joss had to fight hard through a shoulder injury he sustained earlier in the week during today’s match.  “Everything else was okay and it was a good experience. It was just that one shot and once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. I wasn’t going to make the Final anyway, but I got a lot out of it because I didn’t have any stress. I didn’t have an elevated heart rate, didn’t feel like I was on fire. I actually shot pretty decently today so I’m not worried about that.”

Joss will shoot in his signature event - R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1) - on Wednesday. USAMU Rifle Coach Jason Parker said Joss has been shooting scores competitive with his USAMU Olympic teammates. Joss even finished in sixth place at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore in the Men’s Prone Rifle event.

“Fifty meter is much more familiar and it doesn’t bother my shoulder because it’s in a different position,” Joss explained.  “In Airgun, [the gun] is up higher and further back, but in 50m, it’s pretty much right next to my body so it doesn’t really affect me that much.”

Veronika Vadovicova of Slovakia, who also won gold in the R1 (Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1) event won gold in today’s R3 event. Natascha Hiltrop of Germany won silver and Jangho Lee of South Korea won bronze.

Jazmin Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas) was the highest finisher for the United States in Shooting today, finishing in 17th place (625.4) in the R4 event. McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) finished in 24th place (622.4).

“I wish I could have done a little bit better, but I’m feeling confident about Prone,” Dahl said. “Score wasn’t that great, but my goal for this match was to really keep my nerves in check. I’ve really been struggling with Standing recently - especially this last year - so my goal was to use this as a practice match to keep my mind in the right place and keep my heartrate down.”

“It was definitely a little bit lower than what I expected, but this is my first Paralympics and the experience was absolutely amazing,” Almlie-Ryan said. “Being my first Paralympics, it’s definitely hard to keep my mind quiet, especially when you’re on the big stage. I think the biggest thing I learned is I’ve got a lot of support and I’ve really just got to pull my brain in and quiet those thoughts.”

Veselka Pevec of Slovenia won gold in the R4 event. Her Slovenian teammate, Gorazd Francek Tirsek, won silver and Geunsoo Kim of South Korea won bronze.

Almlie-Ryan and Dahl will also compete in the R5 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2) event on Tuesday.

In the Shooting events tomorrow at the Paralympic Games, Michael Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) will compete in his signature event, P3 (Mixed 25m Pistol SH1), along with his teammate Shaun Tichenor (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Brainerd, Minnesota).

Tagliapietra won gold at the 2015 IPC Shooting World Cup in Sydney, Australia and finished fourth at the 2016 IPC Shooting World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand in P3. He and Tichenor will face stiff competition from their friend, Joackim Norberg of Sweden, who won the World Championship title in 2014.

For complete results from the Shooting events thus far at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, please visit: