After a delay due to the pandemic the Tokyo Olympics have finally arrived with shooting events to begin on Saturday, July 24. The U.S. Shooting Team made its entrance in Japan earlier this month and athletes have completed their first days of official training for the Games. Rifle and pistol shooters were the first to arrive in Tokyo with the shotgun shooters following a few days later.
The arrival procedures at the Tokyo airport were lengthy, but the unique Olympic experience and new swag at the Olympic Village awaited the athletes immediately after. The entire team is in high spirits.
“There’s not much more to say other than they’re ready. We’ve had good training leading up to this, everyone’s worked hard and they’ve worked smart. Our team is ready," said National Rifle Coach, Dan Durben.
Weather in Japan this week averages about 90 degrees with significant humidity, so it’s not surprising to see rifle suits spewed out across walls and pathways trying to dry out in the direct sun. Despite this, U.S. athletes have settled in and are adjusting well.
Training looks different for everyone, including Mary Tucker who joined seven other shooting athletes to compete in a 10-meter air rifle “practice finals” in the Asaka Shooting Range Finals Hall. To top it off, six-time Olympic medalist, Kim Rhode, chatted with Tucker before the match and stayed throughout its entirety to cheer her on. Rhode mentioned some friendly banter took place prior to the practice between Tucker and male competitor, Alex Hoberg of Australia.
Shooting at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 includes 101 nations, 356 athletes and 447 total starts. USA Shooting represents 20 of those athletes and 22 starts.