Australia and Olympic Shooting
It was thought that Donald MacKintosh won the first Australian gold medal in shooting at Paris 1900. There was confusion at the time about what events were included in the Olympic program, which competitors were competing, and for years the event was considered an archery event.
Eventually it was acknowledged that MacKintosh won the game shooting event and finished third in the live pigeon shooting. However after many years of deliberation the IOC ruled that the event that he won was actually not part of the Olympic Games.
That means that 52-year-old Patti Dench won Australia’s first shooting medal when she became the oldest medallist at the 1984 Los Angeles Games by winning bronze in the inaugural women’s sport pistol event.
At Atlanta 1996 Australia’s golden shooting age began.
Michael Diamond won the trap and Russell Mark won the double trap. At the Sydney Olympic Games, Diamond became a dual Olympic Champion in the trap. Mark finished second in the double trap after a shoot-off with the eventual winner.
At Athens 2004, Suzy Balogh became the first Australian woman to win a gold medal in Olympic shooting when she won the women’s trap event.
Between 1996 and 2008 Australia collected bronze medals at every Olympics.
In Atlanta 1996 Deserie Huddleston won a bronze medal in the women’s double trap. Annemarie Forder finished third in the air pistol at Sydney 2000. Adam Vella won a bronze medal in the men’s trap at Athens 2004.
In 2008, Warren Potent claimed Australia’s only shooting medal, a bronze in the 50 metres small-bore rifle (prone position). His medal was the first by an Australian in any Olympic rifle-shooting event.
Michael Diamond and Russell Mark returned for their sixth Olympic Games at London 2012 while David and Hayley Chapman became the first father-daughter combination to compete in any sport at the same Olympic Games for Australia.
Diamond put himself in a strong position in the men's trap as he equalled the world record and set a new Olympic record in the qualifying rounds, hitting 125 of 125 targets to lead by one shot heading into the final. He shot 20 of 25 targets in the final before going down in a bronze medal shoot off to finish just out of the medals in fourth.
Athens gold medallist Suzy Balogh also put herself in contention for the medals in the women's trap as she made the final as the third ranked shooter before going on to finish sixth.
Australia returned to the medal list for the first time since Beijing, and topped the podium for the first time since Suzy Balogh’s 2004 trap win, at Rio 2016 when Catherine Skinner claimed a heart-stopping trap gold medal. After needing to defeat Canadian Cynthia Meyer in a sudden death shoot-off just to make the semi-final, Skinner faced New Zealand’s Natalie Rooney in the final; where the 26-year-old won gold on her final shot. Fellow Australian Laetisha Scanlan placed fifth after topping the qualifying round.
Pierre de Coubertin was a champion shooter as a young man and it is no surprise that shooting was included in the first Olympic program at Athens 1896.
Shooting has appeared on every Olympic program except St Louis 1904 and Amsterdam 1928. The number and variety of events have changed many times over the Olympiads - shooting began with three events in 1986 and now boasts fifteen.
From Mexico City 1968, women started competing alongside men in a number of Olympic shooting events. The first woman medallist was Margaret Murdock from the United States in the small-bore rifle (three positions) at Montreal 1976. Murdock finished second to countryman Lenny Bassham after a count-back. A limited number of women’s events were first included at Los Angeles 1984.
Until Barcelona 1992, women were still permitted to compete in those events that were not included in their program. From Atlanta 1996, the Olympic shooting program has been split into men’s and women’s events.
Olympic shooting now consists of 15 events across the three disciplines of rifle, pistol and shotgun.
Trap (125 targets) men and women
Athletes fire from five adjacent shooting stations. At each station, the targets are thrown one at a time from an underground bunker. The match consists of 125 targets, shot over two days, 75 on the first day and 50 the second day. Then the top six contest a final series of 50 shots.
Trap Mixed Team
Teams consist of a male and female athlete that fire from five adjacent shooting positions.
At each position individual targets are released from an underground bunker located 15m in front of the athletes.
Each team shoot a total of 150 targets and then top the four teams shoot a 50 target final.
Skeet (125 targets) men and women
Athletes move through a semi-circular range featuring eight shooting stations and two towers that release the target (high and low).
The high tower is 3.05 metres above ground and the low target is 1.05 metres above ground. Each one is on either side of the range.
During the course of a round of 25 targets, athletes will shoot at nine individual targets and eight pairs of targets that are released simultanously.
Athletes shoot 75 targets on day one and 50 targets on day two plus the top-six atletes shoot a 60-target final.
50m rifle 3 positions (3x40 shots) men and women
Athletes fire 40 shots each in kneeling, prone and standing positions at a target 50 metres away, with a maximum score of 1200. Prior to the first competition shot, athletes have 15 minutes sighting time. Competition time limit is 165 minutes. The best eight scores qualify for the final round.
10m air rifle (60 shots) men and women
Shots are fired in the standing position at a distance of 10m. Scoring is by decimal with the highest single shot score of 10.9. Athletes shoot 60 shots in 75 minutes with the top eight qualifiers proceeding to the final.
10m air rifle Mixed Team
Teams consist of one male and one female athlete. Shots are fired in the standing position at a distance of 10m.
In Qualification Part 1, each team member will fire 30 match shots (60 total shots per team), with a time limit of 30 minutes. Each athlete fires independently of their partner.
In the Qualification rounds, decimal ring scoring is used.
The top eight ranked teams from Qualification Part 1 will qualify for Part 2.
In Qualification Part 2, each team member will fire 20 match shots (40 total shots per team), in a time limit of 20 minutes.
All shots in the Medal Matches will be scored with decimal scoring.
The team with the highest combined score in each round, compared against the other team in the Match, wins two points.
In case of equal scores each team receives one point.
The first team to reach 16 points or more will win the match.
10m air pistol (60 shots) men and women
Shots are fired from the standing position at targets 10m away. Athletes fire 60 shots in 75 minutes. The highest possible qualification score is 600 with the top eight athletes progressing to the final.
10m air pistol Mixed Team
Teams consist of 1x male and 1x female athlete. Shots are fired in the standing position at a distance of 10m.
During qualification each team member shoots 40 shots with a maximum team score of 800.
There are two qualification stages in the event: after the first stage, the top eight teams qualify for the second stage after which the four best teams will participate in the Final: The two best teams will compete in the Gold Medal Match and the teams placed in third and fourth positions will compete in the Bronze Medal Match.
25m rapid fire pistol (60 shot) men
There are two rounds of 30 shots each: one round consists of two series of five shots fired in eight seconds; two series of five shots fired in six seconds and two series of five shots fired in four seconds at a distance of 25 metres. The top six qualifying scores advance to the final.
25m pistol (30+30 shot) women
At a 25m distance each athlete fires a total of 60 shots divided in two stages of 30 shots.
Initially, six series of five precision shots must be completed in five minutes each.
Next, six series of five rapid shots must be completed within around one minute with only three seconds allowed for each shot. Athletes pause for seven seconds between the shots.
One Minute, One Sport | Shooting
Video courtesy of tokyo2020.org / olympicchannel.com