Day 7 – Men’s 50m Rifle Prone
Artur Ayvazian of Ukraine finished the qualification round of the Men’s 50m Rifle Prone with a two point lead and then shot consistently in the final to win the smallbore rifle match with a 702.7. Ayvazian’s improvement is notable after placing ninth at the 2004 Olympics as he takes home Ukraine’s first gold medal in the Men’s 50m Rifle Prone.
USA Shooting’s Matt Emmons embraced fellow Olympian medalist and wife Katrina (Czech Republic) after shooting a 701.7, earning the silver medal. Even though he shot a personal record, he was unable to repeat his gold medal performance at Athens 2004.
“It’s the best match of my life,” says Emmons. It is the best I can shoot. It’s very hard to walk into a final two points behind. It’s not impossible to come back from that, but it’s very difficult.
Day 8 – Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol
Ukraine’s gold count increased by one after Olesksandr Petriv finished Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol with a 780.2 and a new Olympic record for the final score. Petriv qualified fourth of six shooters going into the finals. In a unique twist, German shooters Ralf Schumann and Christian Reitz qualified fifth and sixth and went on to take the silver and bronze.
USA’s Keith Sanderson fired an Olympic record 583 in qualification before plummeting to fifth place in the final with a score of 776.6.
Day 8 – Men’s Skeet
Vincent Hancock of the USA Shooting team brought home a gold, defeating the current World Skeet Champion Georgios Achilleos, defending Olympic gold medalist Andrea Benelli from Italy, Sydney 2000 gold medalist Ennio Falco from Italy, and Atlanta 1996 gold medalist Mikola Milchev of Ukraine.
A strong performance by Tore Brovold from Norway forced a shoot-off after Hancock missed his 20th shot in the final round. Brovold was just one point behind Hancock in qualification and managed to clean the final with 25 hits. The shoot-off ended with Hancock scoring four of four and Brovold only 3 of four. Brovold’s silver became the first medal for Norway at this year’s Olympics. Men’s Skeet was the last shotgun event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Day 9 – Men’s 50m 3-Position Rifle
Qiu Jian brought the last shooting gold to China with a 1272.5 total in Men’s 50m 3-Position Rifle. Following Jian in silver was Jury Sukhorukov from the Ukraine with a score of 1272.4 and Slovenia’s Rajmond Debevec with a bronze performance of 1271.7. Debevec was the gold medalist at Sydney in 2000 and is the current Olympic and world record holder for this event.
The tragic news came from USA Shooting’s Matt Emmons, a favorite going into the match. Four years ago in Athens, Emmons won the gold in the 50m Rifle Prone but failed to repeat his performance in the next event. With gold in sight, Emmons inadvertently shot his neighbor’s target in the final shot of Men’s 50m 3-Position after leading by 8 points.
This year at Beijing, Emmons repeated the tragic story going into his final shot needing to shoot a 6.3/10 to take home a gold. Even after shooting nine shot so perfect that he distanced his competition, he pulled the trigger at the wrong moment and sent the .22-caliber bullet downrange worth just 4.4 points. Worth 1.7 points less than what he needed, Emmons’ repeat performance gave up the final medal opportunity for USA Shooting.