Vincent Hancock, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, captured a gold medal in Men’s Skeet at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday, October 22, making him a three-time Pan American Games champion.
“It feels really awesome, it really does,” Hancock said. He was also the U.S. flag bearer at the Pan American Games opening ceremony alongside gymnast Jordan Chiles.
Hancock, an Eatonton, Georgia, native who now resides in Fort Worth, Texas, secured his spot in the final after shooting a perfect 125/125 targets in the qualification round. His flawless score set a new qualification Pan American Games record and tied the qualification world record.
A four-time Olympian, Hancock bested Federico Gil of Argentina in the Men’s Skeet final with a score of 57, which set a new Pan American Games final record. The record was previously set by Christian Elliott in 2019.
Prior to competing in the Men’s Skeet final, Hancock watched the Women’s Skeet final, where his USA Shooting teammate Dania Vizzi earned fourth place overall.
“I got to see some of the targets in the Women’s Skeet finals, and it prepared me to know that there would be unexpected things happening,” Hancock said. “There was a lot of curling going on with those flash targets. I knew what to do. I just needed to go out and execute. I would have liked to hit every single one of them, but I did the best that I could.”
Hancock, four-time World Champion, mentioned that after dropping two targets in the finals, he knew what changes to make in order to hit the rest of the clays. He attributes his experience coaching to helping him realize what mistakes he has made, and being able to adjust them so quickly during the competition.
“I get to see what happens, especially with athletes I have worked with for long periods of time. They shoot very similarly to me,” Hancock said. “I have to diagnose them, and it helps me diagnose myself much faster, too. There’s lot of things that go into it, but I have been doing this for a really long time, so I know my body well and what I need to do to get the desired outcome.”
Hancock earned his first Pan American gold medal back in 2007 at the Rio Games and his second in 2011 at the Guadalajara Games. He mentioned that he had a lot of fun competing and that Chile did a great job hosting the event.
“It has been 12 years exactly since I have been to the last [Pan American Games],” Hancock, a 23-time ISSF World Cup medalist said. “Pan Ams was my first experience with something like the Olympics. I always look at this as being a great prelude to what can happen at the games.”
Hancock went on to win gold in the Mixed Skeet Team event on Monday, October 23, with Dania Vizzi. The duo ousted Mexico with a score of 41. Hancock and Vizzi were accompanied on the podium with USA Shooting teammates Austen Smith and Dustan Taylor, who were the Mixed Skeet Team event bronze medalists.
Up next for Hancock is the U.S. Olympic Trials part two in March 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. This match will determine the Paris 2024 Olympic Shotgun Team.
“For me, the only thing that really matters coming up is the selection (match),” Hancock said, who won his first Olympic gold medal at just 19 years old. “I need to win the selections in March. For me, I need to win the whole thing. I don’t care about finishing second. I just need to go win the competition. If I do that then I’m on the team. Then, the next step (would be) preparing myself for the months leading up to the Games so that I can peak there and be at my best.”
USA Shooting’s Pan American medal count is nine as of Monday, October 23. Medals were earned by the following United States competitors.
- Vincent Hancock: Gold, Men’s Skeet
- Sagen Maddalena: Gold, Women’s 10m Air Rifle
- Mary Tucker: Bronze, Women’s 10m Air Rifle
- Rylan Kissell: Silver, Men’s 10m Air Rifle
- Henry Leverett: Bronze, Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol (secured the U.S. an Olympic quota for Paris)
- Rylan Kissell and Mary Tucker: Gold, Mixed 10m Air Rifle Team
- Sagen Maddalena and Gavin Barnick: Bronze, Mixed 10m Air Rifle Team
- Vincent Hancock and Dania Vizzi: Gold, Mixed Skeet Team
- Dustan Taylor and Austen Smith: Bronze, Mixed Skeet Team
USA Shooting athletes will be competing in rifle, pistol and shotgun events at the 2023 Pan American Games through Friday, October 27. You can view live scores from the competition at this link.
Learn more about USA Shooting at usashooting.org.