Every four years as a sport in the Olympic Movement, you get a chance to hit the reset button. Where you analyze all that took place over the past four years in lead-up to another Olympic Games, and use it to expand your knowledge base. What you hope is that the experiences you had help create informed decisions that might have even more impact four years from now.
The sport itself will continue to undergo change as the effect of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020 is realized and sports adopt to the road map in place to “safeguard the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthen sport in society.” These program changes will include more female participation, the elimination of some male-only events and the introduction of team events in each discipline.
West Virginia University sophomore and Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher was named the 2016 USA Shooting Athlete of the Year.
The 2017 shooting calendar is relatively tame compared to years in which USA Shooting hosts World Cup events. Those are coming in 2018, including the first-ever World Cup shotgun event at the International Shooting Park just outside Colorado Springs, CO. Still, there are enough domestic and international competition on the docket that will keep everyone busy. Internationally, there’s World Cup trips to India, Mexico, Cyprus, Germany, Azerbaijan along with a Junior World Championship for Rifle/Pistol in Suhl, Germany and the Shotgun World Championship in Moscow, Russia. In between all of that will be plenty of domestic competition, including Junior Olympics, Nationals and Selection Matches as athletes begin aligning their sights for a possible 2020 run.
The great part about our sport is that the veterans most often remain with attrition rates almost slim to none. You can certainly count on our most experienced talent to make an impact throughout the year. Some of them will be looking to continue down the same successful path they’ve been on. Others will be looking to hit the reset button themselves, motivated by falling short of their goal.
As the last four years have shown, there’s a whole world of talent within the USA Shooting ranks awaiting to showcase more of their marksmanship skills. Olympians such as Ginny Thrasher, Dan Lowe, Lucas Kozeniesky, David Higgins, Lydia Paterson, Morgan Craft and Jay Shi have proven that four years of a disciplined approach can mean the difference between a relative unknown and the fulfillment of an Olympic dream. Grooming that talent are the allied organizations that make USA Shooting what it is including: 4-H, American Legion, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the Scholastic Clay Target Program, the National Rifle Association, the NCAA and JROTC.
The 2020 vision has begun as our attention moves toward Tokyo and embracing the challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Critical to our future success is how well we use the time between now and then and work together to formulate and follow a sound strategic plan that can provide success in Japan and beyond.
Article courtesy of USA Shooting Photos by USA Today Sports Images, Geoff Jackson