Above: Dan Lowe (left) of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) and Matt Emmons finished 28th and 19th, respectively, at the 50m 3-P Rifle event in Rio.
Coming into the 50m Three-Position Rifle event, Matt Emmons talked about competing for the fun and joy he derives from his sport. Finally, being at a point in his career with three career Olympic medals, where he felt he could do that.
That plan seemed to unhinge somewhere about his 81st shot and with the subsequent aftermath 39 shots later when the world’s No. 1-ranked 3-P rifle shooter coming in was left to contemplate a 19th-place finish. It was a standing stage that went awry and derailed hopes of a fourth Olympic medal at the Deodoro Olympic Shooting Complex on the final day of shooting competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Dan Lowe (Olympia, WA), a Specialist for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU), finished inside the top-30 with a 28th-place result in his first Olympic Games. He shot an 1168 with scores of 392, 394 and 382. He finished 34th in Air Rifle earlier this week. It was the prone position in which Lowe said he struggled the most during his match, but that won’t overshadow what he accomplished just by getting to Rio and the results he hopes will propel him forward from here.
“To be just six points out from the Final tells me I’m close,” said Lowe. “You can’t really hope for a lot more than come to your first Olympic Games and shoot your average.”
A spot in the Finals was a distinct possibility for Emmons (Browns Mills, NJ), whose previous low finish in 3-P was eighth, following a perfect 400 in prone position. No other competitor in the 44-person field scored above 398. But then, three of his first four shots in standing landed just outside the 10-ring including an eight on the first squeeze of the trigger in standing. From there he was never able to figure out what was going on even when the shots felt good. An uncharacteristic 21 or 40 standing shots didn’t find the 10-ring and he ended up missing the Final by five points.
“The work I did out there, I was actually very happy with,” Emmons said. “I did exactly what I wanted to do and what I planned to do. I felt good and mentally I felt really strong. They looked good, but they just weren’t. I did everything I knew how to do with everything I’ve been training and it’s been so good for so long and for some reason, I have no idea what happened, but for some reason it just wasn’t working.”
Emmons’ wife Katy, a three-time Olympic medalist in her own right for the Czech Republic, helped provide some context to the situation via her social media account late Sunday:
“Sometimes you do everything 100 percent and the result is nowhere where you want it to be. Today, Matt had the worst result I ever remember him shooting in standing. But only five of the nines were worse than a 9.8. That is about 2mm off of the ten ring. Have he had more luck or whatever it takes, he would be in the final giving it all he has to earn another medal. My biggest admiration for his attitude. He is disappointed, but this medal must not be meant for him to have.”
Emmons reflected on the sadness he felt not being able to put it all together given the body of work he has done to reach a level he’s never felt.
“My main goal my whole Olympic career was get to a point where I feel mastery of the game, where I understand the game really well and I feel in control. This year, I finally feel like I got to that point. It was repeatable and I had a great recipe that worked. To come here and have the score be like that today, it’s sad. But, that doesn’t change the work that I’ve done for this many years. It doesn’t change the results that I’ve had. That’s sport, that’s what happens.”
Former West Virginia University rifle National Champion Nicco Campriani captured his second gold medal in Rio successfully defending his Olympic title. He is now the first rifle athlete to win three Olympic gold medals and the first to win two gold medals at one Olympic Games. Additionally, he is just the third rifle athlete with four career individual gold medals, the second to do so at these Games joining Li Du of China. American shooter Carl Osburn is the other.
Russia’s Sergey Kamenskiy was the silver medalist followed by Alexis Raynaud of France with bronze.