Changing China

Giant on the move

Shooting for a good story

August 16, 2008

shooting starsWhile talking with Matt Emmons in the “mixed zone” after he won a silver medal on Saturday, I suddenly noticed the American sharpshooter had brought his rifle with him.

Resting casually on his left foot, it was pointed up at the ceiling, presumably empty of the ammunition he used to hit a thumbnail-sized bullseye 50 metres away nine of 10 times, but still, it was a reminder of how much I hate the things.

I’ve never liked guns, but I couldn’t be happier covering the shooting at the Olympics. There are just so many amazing stories out here in the boondocks of eastern Beijing.

There was a 21-year-old American woman who won the bronze after preparing for the Olympics by shooting moose in Alaska,  a shooter from Georgia duelling with a markswoman from Russia just as their two countries were caught up in an armed conflict, and the lovely story about Emmons and his wife, a Czech shooter (see an earlier blog of mine for this tale of Cupid’s bullet).

And who could forget the totally unassuming Indian Abhinav Bindra who won his country’s first-ever gold medal, the two Koreas being united briefly on the podium, and this golden quote from a victorious Chinese shooter: ”Basically, it was the heavens, the earth and the people all working in my favour,” she said.

I  fired my first and last shot — a friend’s air gun — at about age 10 but now I’m here I think the heavens, earth and people have been working in my favour too.

PHOTO: Silver medallist Matthew Emmons of the U.S. (L), is hugged by his wife, gold medal shooter Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic, after the men’s 50m rifle prone final shooting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

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