• Sgt. Vincent Hancock prepares to fire in Olympic men's skeet, July 30, 2012, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London, during a day in which he scored 74 of 75 and leads the pack in a hunt for the gold medal, July 31.

    Hancock fires at skeet

    Sgt. Vincent Hancock prepares to fire in Olympic men's skeet, July 30, 2012, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London, during a day in which he scored 74 of 75 and leads the pack in a hunt for the gold medal, July 31.

  • Sgt. Vincent Hancock kisses his 5-month-old daughter Brenlyn, held by his wife Rebekah, following an almost-perfect day in which he shot 74 out of 75 clay pigeons, July 30, 2012, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London. He leads the field of Olympic men's skeet going into the final day of competition.

    Hancock kisses daughter at end of shoot

    Sgt. Vincent Hancock kisses his 5-month-old daughter Brenlyn, held by his wife Rebekah, following an almost-perfect day in which he shot 74 out of 75 clay pigeons, July 30, 2012, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London. He leads the field of Olympic...

  • Sgt. Vincent Hancock thinks about his next shot as he focuses on his game at the Olympic men's skeet competition, July 30, 2012, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London.

    Hancock focuses

    Sgt. Vincent Hancock thinks about his next shot as he focuses on his game at the Olympic men's skeet competition, July 30, 2012, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London.

LONDON (July 30, 2012) -- After three rounds of shooting Monday, Sgt. Vincent Hancock is in first place in defense of his Olympic gold medal in men's skeet at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Soldier posted a high score of 74, sandwiching two rounds of 25 around a 24. He holds a two-shot lead over three competitors entering Tuesday's final day of qualification.

"Everything felt great today," Hancock said. "The weather was perfect and I was seeing the targets really well."

Among those chasing Hancock are Stefan Nilsson of Sweden, Anders Golding of Denmark and Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar, who all shot a 72. Tore Brovold of Norway, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist and top-ranked skeet shooter coming into the games, had a rough day on the range and sits six shots off the lead.

Cheering on Hancock from the packed bleachers were his wife Rebekah and youngest daughter, 5-month-old Brenlyn. Rebekah also was in Beijing to witness Hancock win his gold medal and said she feels a little déjà vu being here in London.

"I can't believe we're back at the Olympics again," Rebekah said. "It is amazing. He looks so good out there. He's been preparing four years for this and is definitely ready to do it again."

With two rounds of qualification remaining before the final, history awaits Hancock. Since the inception of men's skeet shooting at the Olympics in 1968, no shooter has ever won two gold medals and only two have medaled twice, none since 1972. Additionally, if he shoots a 48 or better, he will break the Olympic record qualification score of 121 he set in Beijing.

Page last updated Tue July 31st, 2012 at 06:33