Remembering Sydney: Faulds holds his nerve to claim double trap gold

Remembering Sydney: Faulds holds his nerve to claim double trap gold

20 September 2016 / 06:00
It’s 16 years since the Sydney Olympics, when Team GB returned from Australia with 11 golds, 10 silvers and seven bronze medals, which back then was our most successful Games since 1920. It was the first Games that Team GB athletes had benefitted from National Lottery funding, following its introduction in 1997.

Richard Faulds, Gold, Shooting, Men’s double trap, September 20th

fauldsGettyImages-1051790Richard Faulds was famously told by his PE teacher that his lack of hand and eye coordination meant he’d be useless at sports - eight years later he was Olympic champion.

Faults held his nerve in a tense shoot-off with close friend and Australian hope Russell Mark to win shooting's double trap gold, Team GB’s second of the Sydney Olympics.

“It’s a dream come true and I can’t believe it,” he said. “I was worried I was going to get mobbed beating an Australian to a gold medal. 

“Somebody needs to smack me. I was shaking and that’s never ideal for shooting.  I want this moment to last forever, it means absolutely everything.” 

Faults was inspired to take up shooting at his family farm in Hampshire. On his tenth birthday, Faulds's father Bruce bought him some shooting lessons and he hit 17 out of 25 clays at his first attempt. 

"I only ever wanted to shoot," he said.

After winning the world junior title as a 16-year old, he made his Olympic debut three years later at the 1996 Atlanta Games, finishing fifth and later claiming the pressure had got to him.

He worked with sports psychologist Peter Terry to right that wrong in Sydney and would listen to One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston every day on his drive to the Olympic shooting range.
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Faulds came 13th losing his title to Ahmed Al Maktoum from the United Arab Emirates, who would later coach Team GB shooter Peter Wilson to gold at London 2012.

He finished sixth in Beijing and 12th in London and announced his retirement from competitive shooting in 2014, ending an illustrious career with five Olympic appearances, two World Championship bronze medals, five European medals and a world record in double trap, set in 1998.

But it’s that golden moment at the Sydney International Shooting Centre - 16 years ago today - that will forever define his career.

Sportsbeat 2016

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