Army shooter strikes gold in Beijing
August 18, 2008
BEIJING, China (August 16, 2008) - The U.S. Shooting Team added to its medal count at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing today when 19-year-old Pfc. Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) captured the gold medal in Men's Skeet.
Hancock of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, a world champion and world record holder in Men's Skeet was in first place going into the final after hitting 121 out of a possible 125 targets in the qualification round, which is a new Olympic record. Hancock shot 24 targets in the final to finish tied with Norway's Tore Brovold, who shot a perfect 25, at 145 targets. Both shooters hit their first pair in the first shoot-off and in the second shoot-off, Brovold missed one of his targets, while Hancock hit both to claim the gold medal.
"I've always dreamed of getting gold and now I've got it," said Hancock. "I like to deal with pressure and not its paid off. This is such an amazing feeling and I wouldn't trade a minute of it."
Brovold took the silver and Anthony Terras of France claimed the bronze in a shoot-off with Antonis Nikolaidis of Cyprus.
Sean McLelland (Mission, Texas) finished the qualification round tied for sixth place at 118 targets with six other shooters, but missed a target on his first pair in the shoot-off, failing to qualify for the six-person final. McLelland ended the competition in 11th place overall.
Army Staff Sgt. Keith Sanderson (San Antonio, Texas), a member of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) stationed at Ft. Carson, Colo., placed fifth in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event.
Sanderson had a stellar qualifying round, scoring an Olympic record of 583 points and lead the field by two points entering the final round, which was the first time he has ever held the lead going into a final.
Sanderson's disappointing score of 193.6 in the final dropped him out of medal contention and he finished in fifth place overall with 776.6.
"I am happy with how I shot today in the regular match, but I shot horrible in the final and I am pretty disappointed," said Sanderson. "I had a lot of fun in the qualification round though. I don't always get to say I truly had fun in a match, but I can honestly say I had fun today. I wish it could've turned out different, but the whole Olympic experience has been great, especially being here to represent my country."
The gold medal went to Oleksandr Petriv of the Ukraine, who shot an Olympic finals record of 780.2, including a 200.2 in the final round.
Germany's Ralf Schumann took the silver with a 779.5, while Christian Reitz of Germany won the bronze medal with a 779.3.
The Men's 50m Three Position Rifle event will conclude the shooting competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing on Sunday with Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.), who just won the silver medal in men's prone this past Friday, competing in his second event in Beijing.
Along with Emmons, USAMU member and two-time Olympian Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) will also be competing in his second event of the Games and will be vying for his first Olympic medal.