When it comes to Olympic shooting, champs don’t get a free pass.
Sgts. Vincent Hancock and Glenn Eller, reigning gold medalists in skeet and double trap, respectively, will have to qualify for the 2012 team this week in Tucson, Ariz. USA Shooting has previews of the skeet and trap events, which will run through the weekend.
Staff. Sgt. Josh Richmond, the 2012 World Cup double trap champ, already has a spot locked up for London (read more about the World Cup win here). Sgt. Jeff Holguin, another 2008 Olympic team member and the 2011 national double trap champion, will compete for a spot in London alongside Eller, while Hancock (who may also compete in double trap, per the release) will be joined on the skeet side by Staff Sgt. Mark Weeks, formerly the national shotgun coach for USA Shooting, who recently competed in a World Cup event in Tucson.
Well, “compete” might be an understatement. This USA Shooting article on his performance in the March event must be read to be believed: Weeks suffered second-degree burns on his legs after a jet-ski explosion, withdrew from the event, then shot anyway when a spot opened up as an extra filler. He wore bandages down both legs, sported Crocs on his feet and had to walk around the range, according to the article, to keep blood from building up in the wounds.
To recap: Jet-ski explosion, blood, shotguns and Crocs. Weeks barely missed qualifying for the Beijing games, but he might be a sentimental favorite this year just to see whether Hollywood picks up this movie script waiting to happen.
Want more on the marksmen? USA Shooting’s news site is a great place to start. The Army Marksmanship Unit’s website provides some competition updates, and The Outdoor Wire has this piece on the USAMU’s 2011 exploits.
And if you can sit through a short advertisement, there’s this trick shot from Eller. Because sometimes, one shotgun just isn’t enough.