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Beijing Olympic Games 2008



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    Kilkenny is not a city - if you can't get a latte at 0200, it's not a city :D
    And I'll get thumped for that, but feck it, they're worse at football than we are at hurling :D
    (Interesting point that, by the way - GAA has tapped into the tribal mindset very efficiently in Ireland. Perhaps the NARGC have a good idea in running an inter-county championships in clay pigeon...)

    Wilkinstown is really only aspiring to village status if you want to be technical about it since it only has one pub, two garages and one school - and yet, the GAA is in there with a pitch and a club, and they not only do well, but raise enormous amounts of money. The smaller the community, the more they want to see their folks do well and the more they'll contribute towards that. Certainly WTSC has seen the positive side of that kind of support over the years. There's another lesson to learn in there, I suspect.

    Thing is, there's a good solid argument for putting the facilities nearer to the larger population centres, but right now we just don't have enough facilities for location to be a worthy thing to argue over in comparison to getting the facilities in the first place :(

    And with funding for Irish sport as it is (and as it's going to stay now that we have a medal in boxing and thus something to defray the urge to do something about it), we're not going to see that changed by the government anytime soon. We'll have to do it ourselves.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc

    Sparks wrote: »
    Kilkenny is not a city - if you can't get a latte at 0200, it's not a city :D
    And I'll get thumped for that, but feck it, they're worse at football than we are at hurling :D

    I've a good story about that :). My eldest chap was playing against them a couple of weeks ago and in the middle of the game one of the Kilkenny lads just stopped on the pitch and said out loud "Hey lads, have you noticed these blue fella's chasing us?":D. Needless to say they were completely pants but didn't take it seriously at all.
    (Interesting point that, by the way - GAA has tapped into the tribal mindset very efficiently in Ireland. Perhaps the NARGC have a good idea in running an inter-county championships in clay pigeon...)
    Yes indeed, the inter-county thing is a good way to foster competition, but it's very hard to organise (especially if you don't have many counties to compete).
    Thing is, there's a good solid argument for putting the facilities nearer to the larger population centres, but right now we just don't have enough facilities for location to be a worthy thing to argue over in comparison to getting the facilities in the first place :(
    No argument from me there, this is probably the biggest failure in Government sports policy. The bar on providing grants for site purchase means that nothing except the established sports get anything worth talking about.
    And with funding for Irish sport as it is (and as it's going to stay now that we have a medal in boxing and thus something to defray the urge to do something about it), we're not going to see that changed by the government anytime soon. We'll have to do it ourselves.

    Yes, well done Paddy Barnes :) Methinks some of the journos have jumped on the bandwagon a little early.

    And stay off the lattes, they're very fattening ;)

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    rrpc wrote: »
    No argument from me there, this is probably the biggest failure in Government sports policy. The bar on providing grants for site purchase means that nothing except the established sports get anything worth talking about.
    And the lack of professionally-paid staff to go chasing after grants hampers the smaller sports as well. In fact, the general trend towards trying to compete in the "mainstream" athletics areas against nations that invest close to our entire GDP into sport, and who have a much wider population to choose from, is generally suboptimal. Though the ISC and OCI have been strongly hinting that the "minority sports" are the realistic medal chances in the future. Question is, as always, will they put their money where their mouths are?
    And stay off the lattes, they're very fattening ;)
    I know :( Happily, ordinary filter coffee isn't, and it's got more caffeine in it.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc

    Kenneth Egan just got through to the semi finals, so that's another medal in the bag.

    Won his Q/F 8-0, pretty emphatic result.

    Paul Hession finished 5th in his semi-final of the 200m. Ran extremely well, but just couldn't make the top four.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc

    This appeared on TargetTalk and originally was sent to the UIT mailing list. Because of its content, I am copying it here as that seems to have been the purpose of the email. It's old stuff now because it refers to Athens 2004, but that doesn't make it any less interesting or informative.

    It gives a tremendous insight into what goes on at the highest level in shooting and certainly is a fascinating read. I hope he does another one for Beijing.
    [uit_mailing_list] Matt Emmons Olympic shooting report-long but interesting
    Posted by Bob Fleming to [email protected]
    From: _Matt Emmons_
    Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 8:20 AM
    Subject: My Olympic Adventure

    Hi everyone,

    It's a nice jet-lagged 4am morning and there's nothing better to do this
    early in the morning than write emails. I figured I would write a
    mass-email about my Olympic experience instead of writing a million personal ones - that would have taken forever! Ok, so to the story......

    It all started on July 31 when we left for Athens. We arrived on August 1. The team was going over early to do our in-processing (where we get our clothes, apartment in the Olympic village, and all that junk) before going up to Germany to train for a week. We were only in Athens for a couple days and flew back up to southern Germany on August 3. The in-processing was surprisingly painless since we were there two weeks before the Games started. Not too many other athletes had arrived yet. The in-processing can often take a very long
    time when there are tons of athletes, but this one was quick. We got some great stuff, too! A bunch of track/warmup pants, a bunch of shorts (most of which are way too big for me to wear), several jackets, hats, shoes, two bags, a small digital camera, tons of shirts......well, lots of stuff! I was loaded down coming home.

    Germany was so wonderful. I would go back to the place we went just for a vacation. We flew into Munich, then rented cars and drove about an hour and a half down to a little town called Ainring, which was right on the Austrian border next to Salzburg in the Alps. As we drove in, the town was exactly what one would picture of typical Bavaria - beautiful wood houses, chalet-style, amazing hanging flower boxes.....simply beautiful. Everyone wanted to live there it was so pretty. We got there by way of pistol Olympian Daryl Szarenski.
    He shoots in the German Bundesliga (state league) for the Ulrichshoegl
    team, which is based just next to Ainring.

    Pretty much every day we would get up and be at the range around 8am, train until about noon, do some sort of physical workout, then go sightseeing in the afternoon. The team captain of Daryl's German team was a guy by the name of Andreas Steuer. He pretty much took care of us the whole time. A simply wonderful guy and we were amazed at how greatly he took care of us. He organized our afternoon trips, dinners, etc. Our smallbore shooters trained at another range about 15 minutes away in a town called Bad Reichenal. We shot air
    at the Ulrichshoegl range. Both ranges were extremely nice and we have nothing like it in the US. The Ulrichshoegl range was 3 stories - basement had a very nice 14-point electronic airgun range, middle floor was the bar/restaurant and 25 meter range (pistol), top floor was a 12 or 14-point 50 meter range with returning targets (you hit a button and the target zips out on strings, hit it again and the target comes back). Gorgeous facility. Bad Reichenal was really nice, as well. That particular shooting club can trace its existence back to the year 1309 - yeah, no joke! I guess way back then they must have shot crossbows and longbows, but they can seriously trace it back that far.
    The modern building can be traced back about 150 years, I think.
    They have these things in Germany called Schutzenplaques - they are basically a wooden disc about a foot or two across and are very nicely painted with some sort of depiction celebrating whatever occasion it was for. They then shoot at them and put wooden dowels in the shot-holes with the shooter's name on them.
    They've been doing this for hundreds of years and the Bad Reichenal range had ones dating back to the 1700's! These plaques are then hung up in the range somewhere. Every shooting club in Germany has a bunch of these things and are completely unique to the club.

    The week of training was very good. I got a lot done and was shooting
    great. We took some great trips, too. One day we went to see this thing called the Eagle's Nest. I had no clue what exactly it was other than a building on top of a mountain. Well, we get there and talk about a great history lesson!
    Andreas knows a ton of people in the area and he had worked with a guy that now worked at the Eagle's Nest - his name was Gerd and I'll have to tell his story because it's amazing. Anyways, the Eagles Nest is the American name for Hitler's house in Bavaria. When we wasn't in Berlin, this is where he lived. The main complex was not on top of the mountain - it was part of the way up the mountain where originally a bunch of farmers had settled and were living a nice, quiet life. Hitler visited the area in the late 1920's and fell in love with it. As he gained more power with the Nazi party, he eventually had all the
    farmers run out of there so he could build his own complex. He had his own home there, which was almost leveled when the Allies bombed the place, a guest home that still stands and is now the museum (people like Winston Churchill and Mussolini stayed there), barracks for troops, several other houses for his important people - all the names you've heard if you've studied WW2 history. Connecting all these houses and buildings was a series of underground, extremely fortified bunkers - which we got a tour of from Gerd. Some of the places he took us in the bunkers hadn't been touched in a really long time - I saw
    writing on the wall from the French troops who first invaded them, writings from the German soldiers who manned them (stuff like "Heil Adolf") was truly breathtaking to experience it.
    The actual Eagle's Nest is a building up on top of the mountain overlooking the town of Berchtesgaden. This building was built in 1938 and given to Hitler for his 50th birthday in 1943 as a
    teahouse - problem was, Hitler was afraid of heights. Anyways, we saw that a couple days later on another trip and that was really cool - the view was fantastic and the building itself was beautiful.

    Now for Gerd's story -
    this guy was born in 1945 right before the war ended. He lived with his
    mother somewhere in eastern Germany while his father was away fighting for the Germans in the war. When Russians came through, they basically told them "get out in 15 minutes or suffer the consequences" they packed up what they could and took off. They ended up at the Eagle's nest after it had been occupied
    by the Allies. The were able to live there in the barracks while his mom
    worked there supporting the American troops. Gerd grew up there and he showed us the house where his sister was born. So, he's lived there almost all his life
    However, his father had become a POW in the war. After the war he
    had been released, but how was he supposed to find his family and how were they supposed to find him??? After a lot of talking to people here and there trying to find info, they eventually found each other. Amazing story.

    That was probably the highlight of the trip, but we saw other nice things.
    Saw the Koenigsee, which is a picturesque lake between two mountains with a chapel on the south end of it that can only be reached by boat. Absolutely gorgeous place. Also visited Salzburg one afternoon. Nice town and got to see Mozart's birthplace there.

    As a whole, the Germany trip was fantastic. Met and made friends with some of the nicest people on earth, ate some great food, shot well and did about the best thing we could have done prior to the Olympics.

    On August 10 we flew back to Athens. What a zoo when we got back! The airport was nuts - people everywhere, fifteen different volunteers telling you different things...."you need to go over there and do this"....."no, no, you need to go over here" one really knew what the heck to do. Eventually we got through it all and got our tired butts back to the village.

    For a couple days we just trained and did some little stuff exploring the
    village, but nothing major. I really didn't do much sightseeing or anything while I was there. Never saw any other sports, didn't go anywhere. I had enough to do on the range and was competing the whole time....besides getting sick halfway through the Games.
    The opening ceremony ranks up there as one of
    the coolest things I have ever done in my life. Walking into that stadium was electrifying, to say the least.

    We gathered up and got on busses at 6pm in the village. Drove to the
    stadium and then they took us into the gymnastics hall to sit and wait to be lined up and taken into the main stadium. We sat for like two hours and while we were doing that, got to see and meet some cool people - saw Martina Navratilova
    (famous tennis player), Lebron James, Allen Iverson (huge dickhead....),
    Tim Duncan and the rest of the basketball team, whichever Williams-sister was there, Andy Roddick (tennis star), Jenny Finch (softball pitcher), Misty May of beach volleyball, talked to Rulon Gardener (heavyweight wrestler gold medallist from 2000). A couple of my teammates got pictures of a lot of these people. Mike Anti got one with Martina, Sarah got pictures with Duncan, James and a
    few others.....the whole thing was really cool.

    Anyways, so when we finally walked in the stadium, the crowd went nuts. A lot of media people asked questions about how we might be greeted and it was nothing but positive. We got the biggest ovation next to the Greek team. If you saw the ceremony, the
    US team was right in the middle of all the teams standing in the stadium. I was right next to the circular area where the IOC president and the head organizer of the Games went up and talked. In fact, I was directly in-front of them about 15 feet away. The torch-bearer ran right by me....I was right there in the middle - so cool. Actually being there and being a part of the ceremony was a feeling that is indescribable. I was willed with pride and joy just to be there and was filled with excitement. One of those feelings that you
    never know if you will ever experience again.

    After that, it was time to go to work. I watched my teammates as much as I could while they were competing. Heck, these guys and girls are my
    teammates, so I wanted to support them as much as I could from the stands. I shot airgun on the 16th. That was the event I was most worried about - well, not worried, but perhaps least confident in. I did a ton of mental work in preparation for the match and it really paid off. Yeah, I was ninth and missed the final, but I shot a very good match. I was very very happy with my performance and fact of the matter is, my skill level in airgun just isn't as high as the guys
    who made the final. Yeah, I have and can shoot a 596 or 597, but sometimes a good performance may also yield a 594, like I shot. I was not at all disappointed with the match. I walked away knowing I had prepared as best I could and shot the best match I could.

    Just so you know, my main goal for
    the Games was so go in and walk away knowing I had prepared as well as humanly possible and that I gave it everything I had while I shot and simply performed well. If I did that, good things would happen and I could walk away satisfied no matter where I finished because if I got beat, then I got beat by better shooters - which I did in airgun.

    The day after airgun I got sick. I caught some sort of virus and had a head cold. I never felt completely horrible, just not 100%. In fact, I'm still not feeling perfect. My voice hasn't been right since the day of prone.

    Prone was on the 20th. The girls shot 3X20 in the morning, so I was there to watch them. Our girls gave it a good go, but neither made the final. We shot in the afternoon. I felt great about prone going in - I had been shooting really well for a couple weeks and I knew my gun was good enough to win. It was a breezy day, but readable if you shot smart. I had the wind figured out and shot a great 599 with one little miss of the wind somewhere in the middle.
    I was shooting so tight, too - my groups were amazing. I got done and Dave told me I was going in first into the final. Athens has an indoor finals hall, so there is no wind. I knew I could finish it off from there. I got in the final, sighted in really well and shot a good final of 104.3. I had to adjust my sights a little during the final, but I kept a clear head and shot well.
    Winning my first Olympic medal was so cool. I can't say I expected it, but was prepared for it. It was just a great feeling to have something pay off just the way you planned. All the hard work, sacrifice, planning and training that went into it paid off like I wanted it to. Such a satisfying feeling.
    That afternoon and evening I had a ton of interviews to do. Since I was sick, my voice already was kinda crappy and by the end of the evening, it was pretty much gone. I could barely talk the next day.

    Two days later on the 22nd was 3X40. Most, if not all of you, have heard
    about this one. Going in that morning, I felt a little flat. What I mean is
    that I think I was on the tail-end of my performance peak, or past it all
    together. It was really hard for me to get into the game mentally that day and I had to work my butt off to do it. I shot a really good prone and standing. I got to kneeling and had absolutely no hold. I was waving all over the place! I took a ton of time in the sighters to get it to settle down and finally had to go for record or I was going to run out of time. I wasn't happy with my kneeling at all - if I had a good hold, there was no reason I couldn't have shot 6 or 7 points better. I was happy with the effort I put forth for it, but was
    ticked off that my hold was so bad and the score was so bad. So, when I
    finished I wasn't a happy camper, but someone told me I was going into the final in second. That was a surprise because I thought I'd shot like crap. I'd been anticipating that final for a long time because I figured I would be in it.
    Once we got out there, I was nervous, but was able to control it somewhat.
    I guess I should say I was able to control it enough to make quality shots. I was shooting a decent final for 9 shots. I was really happy with how I was handling my nerves, but that was something I had trained for. For the last shot, I was feeling the last-shot-jitters and was working really hard to calm down enough to break a good shot. I never have natural point of aim problems, so I set up like normal, came down on target and shot it when it crossed the black. I looked down and didn't see anything on my monitor......uh-oh.....I figured the target malfunctioned, so I told the judges that I shot. After a
    minute, someone realized I had shot on the target of the guy to the right
    of me. It was an 8.1, which would have been more than enough to win the gold. I think I would have won by a point. In one shot, I pooped away a second gold medal and $25,000. I put my gun down, was in a bit of shock because I think I've only ever cross-fired once in my life and that was a long time ago. I walked
    back to Dave, he gave me a big hug and I think he was more upset/sad than I was.
    I turned around to look at the scoreboard and saw the Mike had won the
    silver. Immediately my I got excited and ran over to him and give him a
    huge hug because I was so happy for him.

    I think I gave just about everyone in the building a heart attack and I was probably dealing with it better than anyone. Hey, stuff happens, even to the best of them. An honest mistake that every shooter will make at some point in their career.....just so happened that my time was at about the most inopportune time it could have been. I have always said that things happen for a reason....I'm still not completely sure what the true reason for this one is, but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon. I'm really not too upset about it all.
    Partly because I have one gold medal already. That's pretty cool. However, also because that is the game we play and that's sports. You'll win some and lose some. I could get really upset, look at the negative side of it all and make it a demon that will haunt me for the rest of my shooting career and life......but you know what? That sure as hell ain't productive for anything, so there's no reason for me to even begin to think thatway.I'lllivetoshoot
    another day, life will go on.....and it will go on happily.

    The only part that hurt was watching the medal ceremony. I wanted to see Mike up there on the medal stand. I walked out and unfortunately could only take about a minute of it before I had to leave. I wasn't upset that Mike was up there or jealous of him in the least - the guy has more than earned it and deserved it after the great career he's had. I was just sad for myself and that
    I wasn't able to be up there celebrating with him.

    The show of sportsmanship after the match was over was something that I will never forget. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen both on my part and everyone else who was there. Almost every shooter and coach came up to me and said how sorry they were and that they knew who the best shooter in the world was - me. Everyone in the shooting world knew who the best guy
    was and that's enough for me. I know how hard I worked and I how well I shot. No one can take that away from me. I may not have another gold medal or the money that would have come with it, BUT it's not always about that. It's how
    you play the game. You win with grace and lose with grace. You have to.
    That's what champions do. I sucked it up, accepted my mistake and simply moved on. I did a few interviews and handled the whole situation very well. After it was all over, several us went outside to where they were selling food and drinks and had some much-deserved beer. Quite of few of the shooters were
    out there. The Aussies, the guys from the Eley ammo company who have so wonderfully supported me over the past couple years, the Japanese team, Czech, Swiss, and some others. I was taking pictures with people, signing autographs and having a good time like one should after a big competition is over with.
    The head of the Japanese shooting federation pulled me aside to talk with me for a bit - I've know him for several years. He told me something that meant so much - he said that I am the best ambassador for my country that there could be.
    Lots of other people would hide their heads and talk to no one - just run
    and hide, but there I was having a good time with everyone else.

    Seeing what I saw that day from everyone who was there and after all that I have heard from people in the US and around the world, I know even more why I play the game I play. The sportsmanship has been amazing. That is what sports are all about. Heck, that's what life's about. It's not always what you
    win, what you lose - it's how you've gotten there.

    If nothing else, the 3p mistake will make one heck of a story that they
    will be talking about for years to come. I'm sure it has also drawn a lot of attention to shooting, which is good for our sport. That is completely fine with me and if that's what it takes to get people interested, good deal!

    So that was my Olympic adventure. Adventure is such a good word because it was filled with so many highs and a few minor lows. Now I'm back in Colorado and will be starting work on my masters degree in business. I'm going to take about a month off from shooting and then start getting ready for the World Cup Final, which will be at the end of October in Bangkok, Thailand. I will be shooting all three events there.

    Thanks to all of you who have supported me over the years. There are so many people who have made a difference in my life and I would not be the person I am today, or done the things I have done without them. Thank you so much.

    Matt Emmons

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    From the ICPSA website:
    Now that the Beijing adventure is over for the Team Ireland Olympic Trap shooting contingent, we would like to welcome Derek Burnett and Kevin Kilty back home to Ireland while Professor Peter Terry had the slightly less arduous trip back to Australia.

    Following the promising final preparation stage in Singapore and the pre-games preparations at the host venue, it could be said that things did not go as we had planned or indeed as we had hoped at the xix Olympiad.

    But despite this we have still a lot to be proud of in the knowledge that our representatives gave it their best shot and unfortunately, this time at least, for an assortment of reasons it was not good enough on the day.

    While the ICPSA High Performance Programme has instilled an attitude, culture and ethic which promotes and encourages the principle of competition over and above mere participation, the fact that Ireland qualified a representative for the Beijing games through the ISSF quota system ahead of many larger and more established shooting Nations should not be lost.

    Indeed the progress made in the progression of Olympic Trap at every level from shooter development to coach education since the Athens games means that we can look forward to London in 2012 with a heightened level of optimism and expectation and we believe that we are well placed to use the intervening four years to good effect.

    In the immediate future however, we would like to assure Derek and Kevin that they did their country and their sport proud and we look forward to once again putting Irish Olympic shooting back where it belongs on the World stage.

    We have compiled a small photo gallery which we hope will give visitors a taste of the past two weeks.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 34 ✭✭✭ Valter

    Which one is correct, who is being robbed in a shoot off situation :eek: ignore the attachment

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc

    Valter wrote: »
    Which one is correct, who is being robbed in a shoot off situation :eek:

    That just seems to be a completely black image to me Valter, is this a trick question?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 34 ✭✭✭ Valter

    rrpc wrote: »
    That just seems to be a completely black image to me Valter, is this a trick question?

    Eh no, it did look ok before I posted it, it was a screen shot from a video of the mens 10m olympic final, I'll try and get it again, its a genuine question :confused: na I cant get the screen shot :( 4min 43secs into the video 2 guys given the same score, 10.1, Hakkinen's shot is clearly 10.2 and the Russian is just about 10.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc

    I've had a look Valter and I see what you mean. However, there's been more than one occasion when they've shown the wrong target beside a shooter, or there's been some screwup with the Sius system, not sure which.

    If you watch the Women's 25m Pistol match, when Otryad has the jam with her pistol, the picture of her target changes after the second shot of the extra 4 shot series she's given. She has three shots on the target which jump to a different position??? :confused:

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc

    True to form, Matt Emmons has written another email on his Olympic adventure! Grab a coffee and be prepared for a long read:
    My Olympic Adventure – Chapter 2: Beijing 2008
    Matt Emmons

    Four years ago I decided to write a mass email to my family and friends about my Olympic experience in Athens. Well, here I sit again early in the morning suffering from jet-lag, so I’ll write a new chapter. This experience was, again, filled with incredible highs and some lows, too. Get a cup of coffee and I hope you all enjoy the story!

    First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way to achieve my dreams. 12 years ago when I first started shooting competitively, I never would have believed that I would be living the life I’m living. I’m so thankful for everything I have and the opportunities I’ve been given. Endless thanks to all of you who have made a difference in my life; especially my parents, Paul Adamowski, Ed Shea, Randy Pitney, Dave Johnson, my wife, Katy, and my family in the Czech Republic.

    So here we go! I’ll back up a little bit to the Airgun Olympic trials in March. That’s where the story should start. I went into those trials expected to win and make the team. My goal was to go after three medals in Beijing, so, naturally, airgun was the last piece since I had already qualified for both smallbore events. I wasn’t shooting my very best at that time and through the first two days of the trials, I shot decent. On the last day, I had one of those once-in-five-years terrible days where nothing made sense or worked. I missed the airgun team and it caused quite a stir among many. Frankly I was surprised and disappointed, but things indeed happen for a reason (this is a theme we’ll visit much more later….). Now it was time to change gears a little bit and concentrate more on smallbore even though I continued to train airgun.

    I started the Olympic trip on July 28th. I left my current home of Colorado Springs and hopped on a plane to San Francisco where we would take a short drive to San Jose for our in-processing. This was where we received our uniforms and pretty much everything we would need for the Olympics. We did the in-processing at San Jose State University. I was really surprised with San Jose. I didn’t get to see too much of the city, but it was my first trip to California and I was impressed. San Jose State University was a really nice place. Clean and the weather was beautiful! Downtown was nice, too. During the afternoon of the 28th, we got our uniforms and all kinds of things. Wow, did we get a lot of clothing! I probably got about 30 shirts!

    The next morning we headed back to the airport to depart as a whole team for Changwon, South Korea, for our pre-Olympic training camp. I wasn’t terribly excited to go back to Korea, but I wanted to keep an open mind and give it a second chance. We arrived to Changwon late in the evening and it was pretty hot and steamy. Kind of like being in a wet sauna all the time! We were going to be there for about a week.

    I was roomed with Brian Beaman from the pistol team. I was a little surprised we were roomed together since I knew the rooming arrangements for the Olympics would be different. However, it was great that we roomed together. I’ve known Brian for several years, but never really got to know him well. As we talked more and more, I really began to enjoy his company. Brian’s got a great sense of humor and we’re both avid hunters, so we had lots to talk about. I also have a lot of respect for him because he’s only been shooting pistol for about four years and, wow, he is talented!

    The week in Changwon was really good. We’d go to the range in the morning, train until about 1 or 2pm, and then go back to the hotel. I’d do some kind of workout in the afternoon and by time that was finished, it was almost time for dinner. Since it was so hot in the afternoons, I went swimming with Sergey Luzov (our pistol coach) and Jamie Beyerle, or I played video games on the Xbox with Keith Sanderson and Vinny Hancock. To be completely honest, it was the first time I’ve gone to a normal indoor pool and swam laps. I’m not the best swimmer, but I really did enjoy it. Katy was happy to hear that since she was a competitive swimmer before she was a shooter. She’s been bugging me about teaching me to swim better for a while now….hehehe.

    We didn’t get to go and sight-see very much, but that was ok. We were often simply too busy. Last time I was in Korea, I got tired of the food really quickly. No offense to any Asians or Koreans, but I really enjoy Asian food, just not every day. Thanks to some of my teammates and also the Aylwards (our coordinators for the trip), we found some western restaurants that served my dietary needs a little better. Nothing too special – Outback Steakhouse, Bennigan’s, and an Italian restaurant.

    Over the week, training was pretty good. I switched to a new shooting jacket and pants back in June and was still adjusting to them. None of my positions were what I would call “perfect” by any means. I played with every position pretty much all week. I was somewhat worried, but I still had almost two weeks until I started competing. That was plenty of time for me to get them working.

    One thing that was really, really great about this trip is that the whole team was together – rifle, pistol, and shotgun. Before Athens, it was just rifle and pistol together and we met shotgun in Athens. USA Shooting had a much stronger commitment to team building and team cohesion this go round, which was perfect – and it showed results in 6 Olympic medals. I had such a good time getting to know some of the shotgun shooters better, and even went over and shot a little bit with them a few times! In general, we had a super team. So many great personalities and positive attitudes. That was cool! In fact, I never met or got to know Vinny Hancock until this year. For three years I’ve heard about this crazy skeet shooter who by age 19 had won just about everything except the Olympics! It’s been such a pleasure to get to know him and I’m proud to call him a friend of mine. He’s a super guy and I greatly enjoy spending time around him. Caution to everyone – you don’t want to play anything against him on the Xbox! I have a great time playing, but I lose every time! Keith Sanderson’s no slouch, either.

    That was basically our trip to Korea. It was mainly just lots of training and so much built-up excitement to finally go to Beijing and start competing. Finally, on August 6th, we left from Pusan to Beijing. Some of you might be wondering where my wife has been during this whole time. Well, on July 23rd, she flew back to the Czech Republic so she could fly to Beijing with her team. They arrived to Beijing on August 1st and had a week of training there before the Games started. It wasn’t too much fun being apart for two weeks, but sometimes we have to do that since we shoot for two different countries.

    Finally we’re in Beijing and we arrive at the Olympic Village. So much anticipation and we’re finally there! Katy told me that the village was spectacular and she did not exaggerate – it was awesome! The apartments and rooms were really nice, the landscaping was beautiful. Everything was top-notch. Something that was important to us was to be able to stay together at the Games. Over the past couple years, when we’re at World Cups and things, that’s what we normally do. If it was possible at the Olympics, we wanted to do the same. Why change anything at the biggest competition? I’m very grateful to the Czech Olympic Committee for making it happen. There were other couples on the Czech team that wanted to stay together, so they put all of us in an apartment together. It had three bedrooms, so Katy and I had one. Yes, it was a little odd staying with a different country at the Olympics, but for both Katy and me, it’s nothing crazy. I feel like a part of the Czech team and Katy feels like a part of the US team. It’s hard for some people to believe, but that’s how it is.

    At this point, I was starting to get a little nervous. That’s normal, it’s the Olympics! If you’re not a little nervous, I think you’re either dead or in the wrong place. I was nervous about my own shooting and also nervous for Katy. In Athens, I only had myself to worry about, which is much easier. This time we had someone else to worry about, too. That’s challenging, to say the least, but it’s very, very positive. I was starting to wonder “can I really do this? Am I ready? Have I done everything I could to be prepared?” For Katy, I was nervous for a couple reasons. She’d been having a great year. I’ve never seen her shoot so well in airgun, but her training hadn’t been going so well for a couple weeks. If there is one thing I know about her, though, it is that she has an amazing ability to make it work when it counts. I was nervous in anticipation of her events because I knew something special was definitely possible.

    We didn’t go to the Opening Ceremony. Katy had to compete first thing the next morning, so Katy, her dad, and I stayed in the village, relaxed and watched some of the ceremony on TV. From what we saw, it looked unbelievable! We were constantly saying “wow! That is amazing!” Did I miss not being there? No. Not at all. It would have been cool, for sure, but spending the evening with Katy was much, much more important to me.

    August 9, 2008: women’s air rifle, first medals awarded of the Games. I was terribly nervous that morning. Probably more so than Katy. It’s always harder to watch the other than to actually compete yourself. The nerves didn’t really hit her until she walked in the range. Her stomach hurt and she just wanted to go home. In fact, she said that’s what she was thinking the whole match: OK, 30 more shots….20 more….10 more…. I was behind her the whole time. I never left my seat. She started with about 32 straight tens and took a break. She came back to chat with me and her dad. Not about anything in particular, she just wanted a little mental break since her mind was starting to think too much. Then she went back and finished with all tens. A perfect 400 in the Olympics! A new Olympic record that can now only be tied. She’s been complaining that she wanted to shoot a 400 in a big match and she’s been close several times. I always said, “You’re just waiting for a better time for it to come.” Well, it did. I was incredibly happy and proud of her, but now maybe a little more nervous! In the final she did well. Not her best final, but for standing in position 1 in the Olympics, she did great. If I remember correctly, she had the highest final and won the Gold Medal with a new Final Olympic Record! I cannot explain the emotions during that moment. I was on the verge of tears because I was so proud of her and happy that, yes, it worked! All the hard work paid off.

    Another thing that made airgun so stressful for me was that my best female friend next to Katy (and also Katy’s best friend next to me), Jamie Beyerle, was shooting near Katy so I could watch both of them. Jamie’s had a rough time with airgun and it’s not been her strongest event. In her first 11 shots she already had three 9’s, but she was shooting really good 10’s. Then she turned on the gas and finished with 29 straight tens for a 397! It was the best match I’ve ever seen her shoot. Her poise and control was simply fantastic. Jamie’s developed so much in the past two years and has worked incredibly hard to be able to put herself in that position. She shot a fantastic match. She was also in the final and I was on pins and needles watching both of them. Jamie also shot a very good final and finished 4th. She just had too much ground to make up on the top three to medal. What an effort. I was proud.

    The next 24 hours was pretty crazy. The organizers and jury members were very conscious of our situation and let me sit in the special seating area and let me follow her through the mixed zone where you talk to the media. I went with her to the press conference and sat with her in doping control. We spent the whole afternoon and evening together. That night we went to the Czech house. Most teams take over a hotel in the city and set it up as a place were their athletes can go and others can feel at home. When a Czech wins a medal, they have a ceremony there to recognize them. It was so nice. Really, really first-class. I know it’s a benefit of a small country with nowhere near the amount of athletes or medalists the US has, but they know how to celebrate and make their athletes feel like they’re important and that they really care about how they do. It was a long evening and we were completely exhausted at the end. One of the cool things was that we were able to meet a very famous Czech actor there, Miroslav Donutil. He starred in one of the most famous Czech films, Pelisky. Every Czech knows this movie very well. It’s so funny. We hung out with him for a while, chatting. Nice guy and he speaks English very well.

    Katy and I had to do some media stuff over the next day or two, but now it was time to recover and refocus for the next three events we had. During this time, we’d go to the range to watch some of the other competitions, too. The US team was doing so, so well. +Two of our pistol guys made the air pistol final and ended up finishing 4th and 5th. Or so we thought….. Jason Turner and Brian Beaman. That was the best American pistol finish in 20 years. Both shot excellent finals and had a shoot-off against each other, in which both shot excellent shots. I was so proud. Anyway, it turned out that a few days later news broke that the Korean who medaled tested positive for doping, so that made Turner a bronze medalist!! Now that is cool!

    Then our shotgun team started winning medals, and a lot of them! Corey Cogdell got the bronze in trap in a shoot-off, which was a nail-biter. Then Glenn Eller won double trap and Jeff Holguin finished 4th. I knew both of them would do well and for Glenn, it was a long time coming. His third Olympics and he’s been one of the top for a while. Next, Kim Rhode won her fourth, yes, fourth, Olympic medal - a silver in women’s skeet! Her first three medals came in women’s double trap, which was removed from the Olympic program, so she switched to skeet. Good choice!

    Katy was up again on Thursday, the 14th. Women’s 3X20. I wasn’t as nervous for this one because I knew she could do well, but it wasn’t the same as air. In air, she had a great shot at a medal, so there are some external expectations. For 3X20, she’s not as strong and her goal was just to make the final. A medal wasn’t really a thought. A possibility, yes, but not a big one. Well, things worked out pretty well. Luckily, there wasn’t much wind, which helped her. Her prone was decent, and so was standing. Kneeling’s always been her tough one. The girl’s worked hard to build a position that she could shoot and, well, it worked at the right time. She was running short on time, so she didn’t have time to be nervous. Just shoot. She had a great kneeling, ended up with a 586, and walked into the final in 6th. Jamie also had a great day with a 586. She was going into the final in 5th. So, again, I was able to sit in the special area and watch both of them in the final. Both of them shot excellent finals. Katy ended up with a silver and Jamie was 5th, but very, very close to a medal. I was, again, incredibly proud of Katy and at the same time heartbroken for Jamie because she was so close to a medal. This time around, I couldn’t be with Katy after the final. I had training for prone because my competition was the next day. Talk about having a hard time to get my head back on to focus on my game! Wow!

    I had finally gotten my position to feel good enough to be confident. I shot 21 shots in training and it was good. Really good. I told my coach, Dave, “If I can do that again tomorrow, good things are going to happen.”

    I asked Katy and her dad if we could keep the media stuff and other things to an absolute minimum that day so Katy and I could be together and relax before my competition. They did, and for that I’m eternally grateful. The celebration at the Czech house was rescheduled for the next evening after my prone match. That evening I was nervous. Still not sure if I could do it. Katy and I usually would go for a walk around the village before bed. For some reason, it was really relaxing to walk around outside. It was peaceful. We talked a lot and Katy was amazing in switching her focus to me for my competitions.

    I slept OK that night, but not great. Too much anticipation. I was still a little unsure going into the competition, but I was fired up. Now I wanted my chance. I wanted to show what I could do. I was squadded in the middle of the range, which isn’t good. The range isn’t really fair. If you’re on one of the ends you have an advantage with the wind. That was fine with me and I was prepared. The Beijing range is tough. If the wind is blowing, it is very tricky. I had hoped for wind on the prone match because that plays to my advantage. Well, I got my wish. It was the windiest day I’ve seen on that range. The wind blew hard and it switched direction constantly and quickly. I was focused and motivated. In the Olympic Games, I shot the best competition of my life. I finished with a 597 and I told my coach, “It does not get any better. That is the very best I can shoot right there.” I walked into the final in 2nd and was ready. I got a charge of energy walking into the finals hall. Artur Aivazian of the Ukraine was in first, two points ahead of me. In an indoor finals hall, two points is too much to make up. I made up a point, shooting a 104.7. I finished, heard that I was silver and was immediately overjoyed. I wanted that medal so incredibly bad. I have trained for the last four years in anticipation of the Olympics. It worked! That silver is only a medal, but to me it signifies so much. It was hard-earned and I was so happy.

    That night not only Katy, but I was invited to the Czech house. The Czechs have taken me in like one of their own and they not only honored Katy that night for her silver, but also me. I cannot explain those emotions. It’s overwhelming. They also wanted to invite my coach and our team leader, Dwayne Weger. Both came. Hehehe, turns out they were in for a surprise! The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Tololanek, was there. So was the Minister of the Interior, Ivan Langer. In addition, all of the top people from the Czech Olympic Committee were present. So all of us got to hang out and drink a little beer with some cool people! Dave and Dwayne were floored. They couldn’t believe it. Neither could I, really! Then something amazing happened. Mr. Langer had something special in mind for me. As minister of the interior, he said he has some pull in certain ways. They want to help make me a Czech citizen. I was speechless. Completely speechless. I said, “You’re joking. You must be joking!” I’m not exactly sure the details of how it would work, but I remember reading somewhere that I’d have to give up my US citizenship to become a Czech. If there’s a way to be a dual citizen, I would be simply delighted an honored. Just the offer is incredibly humbling for me. For those wondering, no, I will not give up my US citizenship if that is, indeed, the case. And I will continue to shoot for the USA. This is my home, but I also have a second home, the Czech Republic.

    The next day, Katy and I mainly relaxed and took it easy, but we had to go the range for a little while. We had two guys in finals. Keith Sanderson was walking into the rapid fire pistol final in first place with a new Olympic record. Keith’s a good friend of mine and I wouldn’t miss his final for anything. Unfortunately, Keith’s limited experience got him in the final. He ended up in 5th, but his performance and courage were incredible. He was sad about his finish, but I was proud. He’d worked so hard to get there and overcame a lot. Later, Vinny Hancock was going into the skeet final in first, also. Vinny had a little better luck and in a shoot-off he won the gold medal! Now at age 19, he has won everything you can win and holds not only both world records, but both Olympic records! He is amazing, to say the least!

    That evening I was getting a little nervous again. A little unsure if it would work and, again, so much anticipation and build-up. I’d been looking forward to this competition for a long time. I’d done so much to be prepared and I’d been worrying about the final for months. Would I be able to stand there in the final and be in control and shoot like I can? Katy and I again took a little walk and chatted. I didn’t sleep that great, but good enough.

    I got to the range that morning and I was in an odd mood. Not terribly nervous, just a little. I guess that since I already had one medal, some of the pressure was off. One thing that kept me motivated, though, was the thought that I would never, ever give up. I would fight like hell until the end. Prone started well. I had a very, very good 399. So far, so good. I was never able to get my standing feeling as good as I knew it could feel, but good enough. I fought through the 40 shots and ended up with a 389. It was tied for highest on the line and I’m proud of that. I pride myself on being the best standing shooter in the world. Kneeling’s always been a struggle for me, but I’ve worked incredibly hard in the last four years to improve my position. I didn’t shoot a great kneeling, but I was satisfied. For the nerves, it’s the best I’ve seen my position react under stress. It makes me feel good for the future. After I finished, I asked Dave where I was and he said 2nd behind Rajmond Debevec. I was happy with that. Walking into the final in 2nd helped keep me on the offensive, which was important for me. I was still nervous about the final, but I’d been thinking about it forever, so now it was time to just go and do it. I got out there and in the sighters, things looked good. Shots I didn’t like were still good shots. We started. I religiously did my mental routine before every shot where I was thinking about shooting at Ft. Benning in training finals. I remember seeing the sight picture so well and I was so calm there. It helped. My first shot was a 9.7 and then I ran seven straight 10’s. I had a 9.8 on my 9th shot. I was shooting a great final and I was in control. Nervous, but in control. It’s the Olympic final, if you’re not nervous, you’re not human! Going into the last shot, I ran my mental routine and reminded myself to take my time and break the shot clean. I was a little more nervous, but when I finally looked through the sights, I felt good about the shot. I was coming down from 12 o’clock, like normal, and as I was getting into the bull, I started to put pressure on the trigger. Then something crazy happened – the gun just went off. I guess my finger twitched and simply set it off. My first thought was “oh, I hope that’s in the black. How can this keep happening to me?” Well, I looked down and it was in the black, but high at 12 o’clock. A 4.4. I was angry at first. Not so much at myself, but the situation. Like I said, what did I do to deserve this again? I looked back at my coach and he said I was 4th. I went back to hug him and then to congratulate the medalists. I hugged Qiu Jian, the gold medalist, and told him a big congrats. He’s a very nice guy and is always very friendly to Katy and me. Then Katy finally made it down to the railing since she was commentating the final for Czech TV. She looked at me and smiled. She said “for some reason, it’s just not meant to be this time.” We chuckled some because it’s just so crazy that there isn’t much else you can do but laugh about it. She said she was proud of me and made her way down so she could go with me through the mixed zone and the media. I slowly made my way through there talking to all of the reporters. Of course, everyone asked “what happened?” and I told the story over and over. One funny part was that there was this Chinese reporter grilling Katy about it and then he looks at me and asks if there is something wrong with my mind. I looked right at him and with a wide grin said,” Dude, I have an Olympic silver and gold medal, and I should have two more gold medals! There is absolutely nothing wrong with my mentality.” That got a real charge out of the other reporters and they laughed. Thankfully, one of the reporters for USA Today printed that in his article. I wrote him about it and thanked him. So, I finally made my way through the mixed zone. As I was walking back to the preparation room, I started to hear clapping. I turned around and saw that all of the reporters, many Chinese volunteers, and everyone else were giving me a standing ovation. It brought tears to my eyes and still does when I think about it. That was incredible.

    I went back into the preparation room where Dave, my sports psychologist Sean McCann, and our physio Nick Potter were there speechless. They didn’t know what to say. I’ve never seen Dave like that. He looked like someone in his family had died. I didn’t know if he was angry, sad, or both. I felt like I let him down.

    I was told later that among so many who were watching in the finals hall, there weren’t many dry eyes. And that includes many of my competitors who did not make the final. I think Katy and I were the most composed of anyone. Before going through the mixed zone, Katy’s dad came down and his eyes were filled with tears. He didn’t know what to say and neither did I.

    And that was that. That afternoon and evening, I was approached by several of my friends from other countries who I compete against at these competitions. All of them wanted me to know that everyone still considers me the best shooter in the world and one shot does not change that. Katy adamantly told me the same and said I was smoking everyone in the final. She was proud. Thank God I have someone like that by my side.

    We stayed in Beijing an extra day purposely to do media things. That next day was pretty busy running around and talking to reporters and doing interviews. I have to say that almost all of the reporters who I spoke to in the mixed zone and then afterward were extremely nice. They treated me with respect and mainly said and wrote very nice things. I’m very grateful for that and I thank all of them.

    China is an interesting place. Shooting is a big sport over there and it seems like it’s as popular as basketball or football is here in the US. Katy and I were constantly in all of the newspapers for a couple reasons. First, because of our story of how we met and being at the Olympics together and also because we were winning medals on top of it. It’s a good story and they all really like it. No kidding, Katy and I are superstars over there. We can walk down the street in Beijing and Chinese people will recognize us. I cannot describe it well enough to do it justice. Reporters always want to talk to us. Most importantly for us, though, is that the Chinese people like us. They are so respectful and nice. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you’re in their country, not one of their athletes, and they still cheer for you and hope you do well. They’re sad when you don’t do well. That is incredible. Katy and I have been fairly well-known in Czech, but now it’s more so. That’s cool. The only thing that makes me sad is that it’s not the same here at home. No one knows us here in Colorado and few seem to care. That’s a shame. And it’s not about fame – for me it’s about people caring about what you do. It gives you a bigger sense of purpose beyond your own ambitions. I know the shooting community cares and for that we’re grateful. The shooting world is a close-knit “family” and I’m happy to be part of that.

    One more thing about all that: don’t worry, fame has not gone to our heads and it won’t. Then Katy and I would become people that we’re not. That’s not our style at all and it never will be.

    Remember how I said earlier that I’d revisit the theme of “things happen for a reason?” First, when I missed the airgun team, I said it must be for a reason. The first reason I thought of came true. At the Olympics, Katy had airgun and four days later, smallbore. Afterward, it was my turn. If I had shot airgun, it would have been two days after her airgun match. I said that maybe it was good I didn’t make the airgun team so I could focus my energy on Katy first, then refocus once my turn came. That came true. I thought Katy would do well and she did. It took a lot of energy from both of us. If I had shot airgun, it would have been difficult to bring my best focus. I’m confident I would have done well, but it was easier on both of us the way things worked out. Second, the crazy last shot. Katy and I both said right away that there must be a reason. I guess you could kind of say that with my crossfire at the last Olympics, the good thing that came was Katy. This time, I’m not sure what will come. Things do happen for a reason, now we just have to wait and see what that reason is.

    What’s next? Well, our plans are to continue shooting for another four years. We’re still having fun, so why not? The only stipulation I have for myself is I will continue as long as I can still make a living out of it. If I can take care of my family, I’ll keep going, but if I can’t, then I will probably retire. I’ve accomplished a lot in this sport and I do it now for myself and because I love it. If anyone’s still wondering, Katy will continue to shoot for Czech and I will still shoot for the USA. Although we’re at home in either place, our hearts will always remain close to our first home. It would be weird to win a competition and see a different flag going up other than your native country. Beyond all that, we’ll see where life takes us and hopefully there will be a third chapter in four more years!

    Again, thanks to all. We’re terribly fortunate for the lives we have and the opportunities we’ve been given. I hope it stays that way. Take care,

    Matt Emmons
    USA Olympic Shooting Team

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    Anyone else reading this feel their hearts sink at the "lets target funding" comments? Especially given that we already have targeted funding at those sports that got to the Games and even there, it's not being made available to where it's needed?

    From RTE:
    Cullen calls for focus
    Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen says Ireland should target certain sports with a view to winning medals at the London Olympics in 2012.

    Speaking on RTÉ News at One, Minister Cullen said he has arranged to meet Sebastian Coe to discuss what role Ireland can play in London's hosting of the events.

    He said he had learned from the methodology of other medal-winning countries and so was going to meet with all of the individual sporting bodies and the Irish Sports Council to come up with a strategy for the London Olympics.

    The Minister said Ireland's overall performance at the Beijing Olympic Games was good - but events, facilities and the preparation of athletes need to be looked at.

    Mr Cullen also said he would 'fight tooth and nail' to keep equestrian events in the Olympics because of the significance of the equine industry to this country.

    He said he was extremely disappointed to hear that Denis Lynch had been disqualified and stated that some of the commentary and some of the reporting in Ireland had been 'over the top'.

    The Minister stressed his belief that Ireland had the capacity to win medals in a number of events.

    He also praised the Irish boxers, saying they led the way in lifting the country's spirits and praised 'outstanding' Kenny Egan saying he had been one of the classiest boxers at the event.

    Due to the fact that he arrived back in Ireland on Saturday, Mr Cullen was not present in Beijing for any of the Irish boxers' semi-finals or for Kenneth Egan's final yesterday.

    He said he decided to travel to Hong Kong to support Denis Lynch in the equestrian final, but shortly after his arrival, he discovered that Denis Lynch had been disqualified.

    A typhoon then struck Hong Kong and it had not been physically possible to return to Beijing in time for the boxing bouts.

    He said he was disappointed that he was not there, but he had been at nearly every other fight.

    Overall the Minister said it had been a good Olympics, with one of the best Irish performances in quite a long time, with Ireland finishing 62nd on the medals table out of 204 countries.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    I wasn't a great fan of Myers before now, I pretty much had him pegged as being paid to be unpopular for the Times and then the Indo, but this bit takes the cake:
    To put our own effort into context, we were not far behind Finland, which came in at 44, and for which athletics is the prime national sport. However, if you want to drink deep of the cup of national humiliation, look at the events in which Finland won medals. It got a bronze in the men's javelin, which is a real Olympian event. But its three other medals were in the lightweight women's sculls, the men's 10 metre air-rifle, and the women's trap -- none of which I knew were events at the Olympics until preparing for this column.

    Look, I don't know what a lightweight women's scull competition is. I don't know whether the women are lightweight, or the scull is. I don't know how many women are in a scull, or how far they race, or whether women's sculls are coxless. Try saying that aloud in mixed company.

    And there was the bronze medal in the ten-metre air rifle. Yes, bronze in the ten-metre air rifle. Look, this is something one could barely admit to one's priest. Certainly, one could not look a stranger straight in the eye and declare, "I am an Olympian air rifle bronze-medallist, 10 metres". It would be far easier to admit to having itching haemorrhoids.

    Of even greater interest was the event in which Finland got its single gold: the Women's Trap. I didn't even know trapping women was an Olympic event. This, surely, should have been live on our screens every night. It clearly is something that Finland is rather good at, but, equally clearly, it is not a proper Olympian sport -- unlike the sport in which we got our three medals -- boxing.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ TrapperJohn

    There is a lot quoted in the national papers about focusing on soft sports and those likely to win medals in 2012. I know Derek Burnett didn't have a great games but he is still one of the best Olympic athletes Ireland has ever produced. I hope no one forgets that and for someone who has delivered consistently over the last four years it will be a shame on Ireland and our sport if we leave him to be judged in isolation by his results in Beijing.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    The worst of it is that you can easily see that happening. One bad day and a world championships title and medals from various world cups and continental championships are just forgotten. :mad:

    Even better is how they're talking about focussing funding on London 2012. Well, great, but only those who just went to Beijing have a real hope at medalling in London (we could get others qualified, but generally folks don't medal in the Games their first time out). So we can probably look forward to lots of money being pointed at the very high-end of stuff, not that it's not needed, but they'll ignore the waves of shooters coming up behind our current best, which is a recipe for disaster further down the road :(

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ TrapperJohn

    Sparks wrote: »
    but they'll ignore the waves of shooters coming up behind our current best, which is a recipe for disaster further down the road :(

    You dont have to look far to see that the ICPSA has had a very successful high performance programme in place for the last few years. I think shooting has ticked a lot of the boxes when it comes to satisfying the requirements for inclusion in the list of sports which have above average potential to deliver.

    I believe everyone agrees we have to invest in our youth and lets hope that the praise and acknowledgement that Gary Keegan has recieved of late for his work in boxing is likewise matched by governmental acknowledgement of the very public efforts of the NTSA and ICPSA to promote the olympics shooting sports. Too many people doing selflish work for us and they deserve our support and backing.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks

    Unstickying this thread now...