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US Olympic Shooting Team, 2020/2021

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We’re just over two weeks away from the torch lighting ceremony, so it’s time to introduce the US Team least likely to turn their back on the flag or kneel during the national anthem.

Our 2020/2021 Olympians are:

  • Men’s Air Rifle:  Lucas Kozeniesky, William Shaner
  • Women’s Air Rifle:  Mary Tucker, Ali Weisz
  • Men’s Smallbore Rifle:  Patrick Sunderman, Nick Mowrer
  • Women’s Smallbore Rifle:  Mary Tucker, Sagen Maddalena
  • Men’s Air Pistol:  Nick Mowrer, James Hall
  • Women’s Sport Pistol:  Alexis Lagan, Sandra Uptagrafft
  • Rapid Fire Pistol: Henry Leverett, Jackson Leverett
  • Men’s Skeet:  Vincent Hancock, Phillip Jungman
  • Women’s Skeet:  Austen Smith, Amber English
  • Men’s Trap:  Derrick Mein, Brian Burrows
  • Women’s Trap: Kayle Browning, Madelynn Bernau

US Olympic Shooting Team  

I’m struck by how long it’s been since I was on the team (and then not in an Olympic year).  I don’t know any of these people…  Unfortunately, none of our medalists from the 2016 Rio games are back on the roster.   The most experienced competitor on the team is Vincent Hancock, in his 4th Olympics, having won the gold twice before.  Kim Rhode missed the cut to compete in an unprecedented 7th Olympiad (having medaled in the previous 6 Olympics).  She has stated she’ll be back for the 2024 trials, and may continue on to the tryouts for the 2028 games in Los Angeles. Nick Mowrer is notable for being the first US shooter to qualify in two different disciplines (rifle and pistol) in the same Olympics since 1924.  Also of note are brothers Henry and Jackson Leverett, both competing in Rapid Fire Pistol.  I sure hope they are on good terms with one another.

280 shooters from other nations will join Team USA to compete in 15 events, though all without spectators due to a Covid resurgence in the Tokyo area:

  • 10m Air Pistol - Men
  • 10m Air Pistol - Women
  • 10m Air Pistol - Mixed Team
  • 25m Pistol - Women
  • 25m Rapid Fire Pistol - Men
  • 10m Air Rifle - Women
  • 10m Air Rifle - Men
  • 10m Air Rifle - Mixed Team
  • 50m Rifle 3 Positions - Women
  • 50m Rifle 3 Positions – Men
  • Shotgun Skeet - Women
  • Shotgun Skeet - Men
  • Shotgun Trap - Women
  • Shotgun Trap - Men
  • Shotgun Trap - Mixed Team

The mixed team events are new this year.  Men and women competed together in all events until 1988, when separate events for men and women were created.  Now, the separate events remain, but a mixed-gender team event has been added.

Conspicuously absent from the event list is 50m Free Pistol.  THAT makes me mad.  Free Pistol had not only been a medal event since the inception of the modern Olympics, it had been the FIRST medal event, as way back in 1896, Baron Pierre de Coubertin (father of the modern games) declared Free Pistol to be the most difficult of the Olympic events, and so reserved it that place of honor.   I really hate to see it go.  That was MY event, dammit!   Well, that and Air Pistol, but I was better at Free Pistol.

Tokyo Olympics Shooting Preview

The shooting events start with Air Rifle and Air Pistol on Saturday July 24, and continue through Monday August 2 when Rapid Fire Pistol and 3 Position Smallbore Rifle wrap up.  You won't see much of these in the TV coverage, but you can find them in the online video feeds.   I'll also pop in here periodically to post results.





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1 hour ago, 10X said:

You won't see much of these in the TV coverage, but you can find them in the online video feeds.   I'll also pop in here periodically to post results.

My first thought when I saw the title was it was unlikely MSM would air any shooting sports. I'll have to take a look for the videos.

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Unfortunately I just heard that the UK’s top shooter Amber Hill is not going to be able to compete as she tested positive for COVID. It’s a shame, strong competition always brings out the best during the Olympics…


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Two days of competition have concluded, with medals awarded in four events and qualification rounds underway for several others.  

The first medals of these Olympic Games were awarded in women’s air rifle.

Gold  Q Yang, China, 251.8

Silver  A. Galashina, Korea, 251.1

Bronze  N. Christen, Switzerland, 230.6

M. C. Tucker of the United States also made it to the finals, finishing 6th with a 166.0

Olympic scoring has gotten strange, so an explanation is in order.  No longer does the score after 60 shots (120 for 3-position rifle) determine the winner.  At various times in recent years, a shoot off for the top 8 finishers was introduced, initially adding the score for 10 more shots to the initial qualifying score, but later dropping the qualifying score and having only the shoot off determine the standings. With the onset of electronic scoring, they also subdivided the scoring rings, so a ten is no longer perfect, you can score a 10.1 up to a 10.9, so previously unattainable perfect scores can now be exceeded because of all the 10ths adding up. Finally, they changed the final again so that after 12 shots they drop the lowest shooter, then after every two additional shots they drop the next lowest, so that by the 24th shot only 2 shooters remain.  That’s why shooters finishing below the top 2 have significantly lower scores-they fired fewer shots. 

None of this improved the sport. 

Also concluding on the first day of competition was the Men’s Air Pistol event. 

Gold.  J. Faraughi, Iran, 244.8

Silver  D. Mikec, Serbia, 237.9

Bronze  W. Pang, China, 217.6

No shooter from the US qualified for the final in this event. 

On the second day of competition, two additional events completed. 

Men’s Air Rifle

Gold.  W. Shaner,  USA, 251.6.  Shaner set a new Olympic record with his qualifying score!

10 meter air rifle final (video)

Silver  L. Sheng, China, 250.9

Bronze  H. R. Yang, China, 229.4

No other shooter from the US qualified for the final


Women’s Air Pistol

Gold.  V. Batsarashkina, Russia, 240.3

Silver  A. Kostadinova, Bulgaria, 239.4

Bronze  R. Jiang, China, 218.0

No shooter from the US qualified for the final. 

Women's Air Pistol final - video

The ten ‘dot’ on an air rifle target is just 0.02” across.  The ten ring on an air pistol target is 0.45” across.  Air rifle and air pistol are both shot at 10 meters from the standing position, unsupported, strong hand only for pistol, and with iron sights. 

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Day three was very good to the Team USA Skeet Shooters, as they won the gold in both the Men's and Women's events!

Returning Olympic Medalist Vincent Hancock was in 4th place after the previous day's qualification round, 2 birds behind the leader, while Amber English was in 3rd place, but 3 birds back.   Both pulled it out in the final, each setting new Olympic records, Vincent winning an unprecedented third Olympic Gold Medal in the event.

Men's Skeet

Gold  V. Hancock, USA, 59 (Olympic Record!)

Silver  J. Hansen, Denmark, 55

Bronze  A. Al-Rahshidi, Kuwait, 46

Men's Skeet Finals - video

Women's Skeet

Gold A. English, USA, 56 (Olympic Record!)

Silver D. Bacosi, Italy, 55

Bronze  M. Wei, China, 46

Women's Skeet Finals - video

In Skeet, after a 125 target qualification round, six shooters advance to the final.  In a manner similar to that seen in the air gun events, partway through the final the lowest shooters are eliminated from the squad, one by one, until at the end only the top two shooters remain in head-to-head competition.   It is another fairly recent change to how the match is run, probably made in the interest of making it more interesting for the TV audience (and more stressful to the shooters).

Since so much is different in international competition than what we are used to in US shooting events, I've attached the link below with good information on how every event works.

How are the Olympic shooting events scored?

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Medal rounds for the mixed-team Air Rifle and Air Pistol events were held today.   This is a new event in this Olympic cycle, with each mixed team composed of one male and one female shooter from their respective national team in each discipline.

Mixed Team 10 meter Air Rifle

Gold:  China

Silver:  USA

Bronze: Russia*


Mixed Team 10 meter Air Pistol

Gold:  China

Silver: Russia*

Bronze: Ukraine


*Russia and many of their top athletes are currently serving out a multi-year ban from international competition, as a result of being busted for state-sponsored doping violations on a massive scale.  However, many of their athletes are still being allowed to compete as the 'Russian Olympic Committee' (ROC) team, flying Russian colors but not the actual flag.   I'll still refer to them as Russia here.

Russia making a mockery of their Olympics ban

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The trap events have concluded in Tokyo.   

Women's Trap results:

Gold: Z. Rehák-Štefečeková, Slovakia, 43  (Olympic Record)

Silver: K. Browning, USA, 42

Bronze: A. Perilli, San Marina, 29

Video bit about Women's trap shooting results  (I haven't yet found online video of the actual events)


And in Men's trap:

Gold:  J. Lipták, Czech Republic,  43   (Olympic Record)

Silver:  D. Kostelecký, Czech Republic, 43  (Olympic Record, tie was broken by a shoot-off)

Bronze:  M. Coward-Holley, Great Britain, 33

None of the men from Team USA advanced to the finals.


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A couple more medal events have wrapped up.

Women's 25 meter sport pistol is the Olympic event closest to pistol events American's would be familiar with.  It is a .22 event, it has slow and rapid fire stages, similar to our ubiquitous bullseye/precision pistol matches, although the target is different, only iron sights are allowed, and time starts with the shooter's gun hand down at a 45 degree angle, and each shot in the rapid fire stage is timed and fired separately.   There is no men's 25 meter sport event, men have the rapid fire pistol event instead, which isn't a women's event.  I've no idea why that is; it is the only case where the same event doesn't have men's and women's divisions.

I didn't find video of the 2020/2021 Women's sport pistol event this morning, but here is a great video describing all of the Olympic pistol events:  The Olympic Pistol Events

Anyway, it was a shut-out for the US, which had no shooter qualify for the finals 

Gold:  V. Batsarashkina, Russia, 38  (Olympic Record)  She becomes the first female shooter to win three medals in the same Olympics, having won golds in air pistol and mixed air pistol earlier in the week. 

Silver:  M. J. Kim, South Korea, 38 (Olympic Record)

Bronze:  J. R. X. Xiao, China, 29


Also concluded, the new mixed-team Trap Event

Gold: Spain, 41

Silver, San Marino, 40

Bronze, USA, 42  (the highest score, yes, but the qualification round put TEAM USA in the bronze medal match)


Finally, 50 meter 3-position rifle got underway with the women's qualifiers and finals.  Three-position free rifle is a tough event; I shot it seriously in college and did pretty well.  The rifles are amazing to behold (see the video), .22 cal, iron sights only, highly customizable to fit the shooter.   The full course of fire is 40 shots prone, 40 shots standing, and 40 shots kneeling in 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Shooters wear sweats (often multiple layers) under leather shooting coats and pants to dampen the pulse--though you can still see the sights move slightly with each heartbeat.  It's hot under all that gear--it is common to lose a few pounds of sweat during each match.

Gold:  N. Christen, Switzerland, 463.9  (Olympic Record)

Silver:  Y. Zykova, Russia, 461.9

Bronze: Y. Karimova, Russia, 450.3

American S. Maddalena did qualify for the finals, and finished in 5th place with a 427.8.

There is a nice video up of the finals  Women's free rifle finals




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The shooting events have concluded at this year's (errr, last year's) Olympic Games.

In Men's 50 meter free rifle (3 position), the medalists were:

Gold:  C. H. Zhang, China, 466.0  (World Record)

Silver:  S. Kamenskiy, Russia, 464.2

Bronze:  M. Sebic, Serbia, 448.2.

No US shooter advanced to the final round.   Looking at the qualifying scores, they've certainly gone up since I was shooting free rifle.  There was a time when the US was consistently pretty good in this event, so it was sad to have no one in the top 8.


Finally, in Men's Rapid Fire Pistol

Gold:  J. Quiquampoix, France, 34

Silver:  L. Pupo, Cuba, 29

Bronze, Y.H. Li, China 26.

Again, no US shooter advanced to the final, though this event is quite different than any US event, there aren't a lot of ranges here set up for it.   It's a 25 meter event, fired with iron-sighted .22 pistols, in 5 shot strings with time limits of 8 seconds to start, then 6 seconds, then finally 4 seconds.   The shots are fired at a bank of five individual turning targets, 1 shot per target.  Video below.

Olympic Finals-Men's Rapid Fire Pistol


Final medal count, by country, for the shooting events (Russia represented as ROC):

Country image.png.971b2674be3979c316770801a3ed52f3.png image.png.539c6d71cd45330ae272fe107ea92bc1.png image.png.bc6ab767bc22e73e7d39c84eaaa51cd2.png image.png.14b8efe3c7d7f591d527d24636f608b0.png
4 1 6 11
3 2 1 6
2 4 2 8
1 1 0 2
1 0 1 2











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