Between now and next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio we will be focusing on the different sports and Team GB athletes to keep an eye out for. The latest Olympic Spotlight sees us concentrate on shooting.
Where: National Shooting Center
When: August 6-14
Medal events: 15 (trap, skeet, 10m air rifle, 50m rifle 3 positions and 10m air pistol for both men and women, double trap, 50m rifle prone, 25m rapid fire pistol and 50m pistol for men and 25m pistol for women)
Did you know: Men’s shooting was one of the nine events at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Live pigeons were used as moving targets for the 1900 Games in Paris before they were replaced with clay targets shortly afterwards.
About the sport:
Shooting has been included in every Olympic Games since 1896 with the exception of the 1904 and 1928 Games.
When the sport was reintroduced in 1932 it consisted of only two events (the rapid fire pistol and rifle prone) but that number steadily increased until a maximum of 17 in 2000 and 2004, although there are now 15 disciplines.
Events marked as men’s were actually open events from 1968 until 1992, during which time two women won medals – Margaret Murdock (silver in rifle three positions in 1976) and Zhang Shan (gold in skeet in 1992).
A number of new rules were instituted following the 2012 Olympics to enhance the sport’s appeal to youthful spectators, the most significant of which sees all finals featuring an elimination stage until the competition ends up with duels between two shooters to decide gold and silver medals.
The United States have dominated the medal rostrum in the sport, winning 53 golds and 107 total medals in the sport while China and the Soviet Union are the second and third most successful nations, winning 21 and 17 golds respectively.
Qualifying spots go to the nation – in other words they are not tied to the individual shooter who achieved the place/finish at the qualifying event – with the decision on individuals resting with the national governing bodies.
A maximum of 390 shooters will be able to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games with 366 quota places available and the remaining 24 athletes being selected under the Tripartite Commission Invitation.
Quota places are generally awarded when a shooter earns a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup series or posts a top finish at the ISSF World Championships or the continental championships.
Team GB have qualified six quota places for Rio 2016 and, in November, announced the squad to travel to Brazil .
Tim Kneale and Steven Scott will compete in the men’s double trap, Ed Ling in the men’s trap, Elena Allen and Amber Hill take part in the women’s skeet and Jennifer McIntosh will contest the women’s 50m rifle three positions.
Did you know: British skeet shooter Amber Hill became the youngest-ever skeet World Cup gold medallist when she won the ISSF World Cup event in Acapulco, Mexico in March 2013 aged just 15, going on to win the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award that December..
Team GB success:
Team GB are the fifth-most successful nation of all time when it comes to shooting at the Olympic Games, winning 13 golds and 44 overall medals.
The lion’s share of those came at the London 1908 Olympics where the team picked up six gold medals, seven silvers and eight bronzes.
In Seoul in 1988, Malcolm Cooper became the only man to win two consecutive gold medals in the 50m rifle three positions events, following his triumph at Los Angeles in 1984.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Team GB have won two gold medals – both in the double trap event – as Richard Faulds claimed victory at Sydney 2000 while Richard Wilson memorably did the same at London 2012.
Team GB hopes for Rio:
With the shooting squad already selected, each of the six members can now focus on ensuring their preparation is right for Rio in August.
Amber Hill demonstrated her Olympic medal potential in women’s skeet by winning gold at the 2015 European Games in Baku before clinching gold in the ISSF World Cup final in Cyprus in December.
Hill’s fellow British skeet shooter Elena Allen will be competing in her second Olympics and has won silver at the Commonwealth Games and World Shooting Championships since London 2012 while women’s 50m rifle three positions shooter Jennifer McIntosh is a five-time Commonwealth Games medallist.
Double trap shooters Tim Kneale and Steven Scott have both impressed with silver medals at the 2015 World Shotgun Championships and 2014 World Shooting Championships respectively, while Ed Ling’s trap silver at latter event marked his best performance on the big stage.