by Joseph P. Tartaro
Getting results of the shooting games at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, can be pretty near impossible. NBC, which has paid for the rights to telecast the Olympics on its three channels (including CNBC and MSNBC), has taken the view that no one is interested in shooting. Or maybe it is that the media elitists are ashamed of shooting, especially if Americans win.
American newspaper sports editors arent much better. If they report on shooting and many other sports events they dont understand, they bury that news in columns of very small type, eliminating all information except the bare essentials.
A few newspapers in the US took special note of the victory of Nancy Johnson in the Womens 10-meter Air Rifle event. That was because Johnsons victoryand a quirk of schedulinggave the USA bragging rights to the very first gold medal of the 2000 Olympics.
Its unlikely, however, that Johnson will be signing any $100 million celebrity promotional contracts with any manufacturer of over-priced athletic shoes. If shes lucky, she may earn a few dollars in the promotion department of one of the US gun manufacturers.
Can We Learn?
Considering the pressure on gun manufacturers and gunowners these days, it might be worthwhile reflecting on the Olympics and the drive for global gun control.
In the US these days, the anti-gunners seem to be shaping the debate because of their iron grip on media channels. Law-abiding gunowners and their firearms have been so demonized that organized school shooting programs are being shut down, and anything to do with guns is becoming anathemaeven the marksmanship training under high school junior ROTC programs.
If that werent bad enough, we have people trying to disarm bronze statutes of children playing with water pistols. Absurd as that may sound, it actually happened in Santa Fe, NM.
Then we have people with a political axe to grind organizing marches, demonstrations and first Monday events all across the country to further demonize guns, gunowners and the gun industry. If that werent enough, we have cities suing the gun industry to force them out of business, or to at least raise the cost of defense so high that people will not be able to afford guns.
And in almost every state, some politicians are fighting educational programs that will really help children understand that guns require special care and special responsibility.
From the standpoint of world competition like the Olympics, the politicians who want to raise the minimum age for lawful firearms acquisition and use to at least 21, are likely to usher in a day in which the USA will be unable to win any Olympic medals in shooting.
Twenty-one is not an age when someone embarks on the difficult road to achieving world-class proficiency with a firearmor air gun. Thats about the age when most competitors are starting to reach their peak.
Occasionally, there are prodigies, like Kim Rhode, who won the first Womens Double Trap event in Atlanta in 1996. Another young person I knew made the US pistol team at 20 several years ago. Unfortunately, he never got to compete, because that was the year we boycotted the Olympics in Russia.
But he was from Western New York and had been weaned on pistol shooting from his early years. And he had, unusual as it may seem, been granted a New York state pistol license in his early teens.
Ive talked with aspiring members of the US Shooting Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Shooters, like swimmers, gymnasts and other competitors, lead a very regimented life if they want to aspire to world class excellence.
Rigors of Training
Their lives are very regulated. Besides schooling they seldom have time for anything but practice in their chosen sport. Serious young shooters aiming for the Olympics dont play ball, or engage in other activities in their free time. Every available moment is devoted to training. Its not an easy life.
Now we have the politicians, the media, the civic leaders, and the schools telling them that this is not only a wasteful pursuit, but a dangerous one. When a young boy or girl these days tells someone they want to be a world-class shooter, people roll their eyes and start expecting the young person to be featured in the next school shooting story.
Schizophrenic as this American attitude may be, consider that many of the young people who earned gold, silver or bronze medals in the Olympic events that I have included at the end of this article come from countries like Australia, Great Britain, China and even Japan. One might wonder how that is possible, but the simple fact is that while these countries have pretty much disarmed their civilian populations, they still cherish the bragging rights they get when their people earn medals.
Let me suggest how the communist Chinese government manages this, based on some pretty reliable sources with whom I have spoken.
For one thing, China still believes that it needs lots and lots of infantry if it decides to fight a war or is forced into one. To assure a steady supply or soldiers, sailors and marines, the Chinese do not shrink from teaching young people about guns, or about how to shoot.
When you have a commitment to winning medals in world competition, you plan and build for the long term. When China starts looking for trainable young shooters for the Olympics, it starts with a pool of some 12 to 20 million youngsters. Little by little this huge reservoir is shaken down to include only the very best possible trainees.
Preparation for Victory
Those selected are sponsored and cared for by the government. They are given the best training with the best guns and ammunition possible. They are prepared physically and psychologically for the role of champions.
Most importantly, they are honored and respected by their government, their teachers and their fellow countrymen.
Check the scores and youll see more Chinese medal winners in shooting than you could possibly have imagined. Youll also find Australians and Russians, and even a winner from Great Britain.
The people of those countries and the politicians who govern may be anti-gun when it comes to private possession and ownership of guns. They may even be hypocrites. But they are different from the anti-gunners in this country who want to remake and brainwash all of society, and who havent the slightest regards for the fact that they are also blocking the path to future shooting medals for the USA.
I guess they figure they can win world respect by winning medals in cheerleading when that becomes an Olympic sport in 2004.
Below are the final shooting scores fro the 2000 games.
|Event||Gold Medal||Silver Medal||Bronze Medal|
|Women's 10-meter Air Rifle||Nancy Johnson, USA, 497.7||Kang Cho-Hym, Korea, 497.5||Gao Jing, China, 497.2|
|Men's 10-meter Air Rifle||Cai Yalin, China, 696.4||Artim Khadjibekov, Russia, 695.1||Evgeni Aleinekov, Russia, 693.8|
|Men's 10-meter Air Pistol||Franck Dumoulin, France, 688.9||Wang Yifu, China, 686.9||Igor Basinsky, Belarus, 682.7|
|Women's 10-meter Air Pistol||Tao Luna, China, 488.2||Jasna Sekaric, Yugoslavia, 486.5||Annemarie Forder, Australia, 484.0|
|Men's Trap (Singles)||Michael Diamond, Australia, 147||Silver-Ian Peel, Great Britain, 142||Giovanni Pellielo, Italy, 140|
|Women's Trap (Singles)||Daina Gudzineviciute, Lithuania, 93||Silver-Delphine Racinet, 92||Bronze-Gao E, China, 90|
|Women's Trap (Doubles)||Pia Hansen, Sweden, 148||Silver-Deborah Gelisio, Italy||Kim Rhode, USA, 139|
|Men's 50-meter Free Pistol||Tanyu Kiriakov, Bulgaria, 666||Igor Basinsky, Belarus, 663.3||Martin Tenk, Czech Republic, 662.5|
|Women's 50-meter Rifle, 3 Position||Renata Mauer-Rozanska, Poland, 684.6||Tatiana Goldobina, Russia, 680.9||Maria Feklistova, Russia, 679.9|
|Men's Double Trap||Richard Faulds, Great Britain, 187.0 (shoot-off, 2 rounds)||Russell Mark, Australia, 187.0 (shoot-off, 2 rounds)||Fehaid Al Deehani, Kuwait, 186.0|
|Men's 50-meter Prone Rifle||Jonas Edman, Sweden, 701.3||Torben Grimmel, Denmark, 700.4||Sergei Martynov, Belarus, 700.3|
|Men's 25-meter Rapid Fire Pistol||Serguei Alifrenko, Russia, 687.6||Michael Ansermet, Switzerland, 686.1||Iulian Raicea, Romania, 684.6|
|Women's Skeet||Zemfira Meftakhetdinova, Azerbaijan, 98.0||Svetlana Demina, Russia, 95.0||Diana Igaly, Hungary, 93.0 (shoot-off for bronze, 4 rounds)|
|Men's 10-meter Running Target||Ling Yang, China, 681.1||Oleg Moldovan, Moldova, 681.0||Zhiyuan Niu, China, 677.4|
|Women's 25-meter Pistol||Maria Grozdeva, Bulgaria, 690.3 (Olympic Record)||Luna Tao, China, 689.8||Lolita Evglevskaya, Belarus, 686.0|
|Men's 50-meter Rifle, 3 Position||Rajmond Debevec, Slovenia, 1,275.1 (Olympic Record)||Juha Hirvi, Finland, 1,270.5||Harald Stenvaag, Norway, 1268.6|
|Men's Skeet||Mykola Milchev, Ukraine, 150.0 (World Record)||Petr Malek, Czech Republic, 148.0||James Graves, USA, 147.0|
Return to Archive Index