Josh Richmond had a good excuse for missing the test event for Olympic shooting in London back in April.
He wanted to be with his family when his second son, Beaux, was born.
Richmond, now a father of two (his older son, Triston, is 2), won’t miss the next big event in London, however, the 2012 Games, which begin July 27. The men’s double trap Olympic event is set for Aug. 2.
The 26-year-old dad will spend this Father’s Day flying from a USA Shooting fundraiser in Dallas to his home in Midland, Ga., not far from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga. But at least he will get a chance to spend some time with his wife, Scharri, and his young boys. They will not be joining him on his Olympic trip to London.
“My wife and I joke because she’s superstitious,” Richmond said. “Any time she’s there, I shoot bad, so she doesn’t want to go to London. And with the new baby being so little, it will be hard to travel anyway.
Perhaps Beaux is a good-luck charm since two weeks after his birth, his dad won the gold medal at the Lonato (Italy) World Cup on May 5. It was Richmond’s second medal in as many World Cup events this year.
Richmond won’t have his immediate family with him in London this summer, but he will have his parents, who have provided support and good fortune, too. Back in 2010, they accompanied him to the world championships in Germany, where Richmond won the world title in the men’s double trap.
“My rivals have already heard that my parents are coming again and they don’t want them to be there,” Richmond said with a laugh.
It’s appropriate that Richmond’s father is traveling to London this summer because his father was the one who got him started in the sport of shooting. Growing up in rural Hillsgrove, Pa., Richmond said, “I was born with a shotgun waiting for me."
Indeed, his father won a shotgun while Richmond was in the womb. When Richmond was 5, he started shooting and by about 10, he was competing.
Although the sport of shooting and his role with the Army has uprooted this Pennsylvania boy to Georgia, he still calls Hillsgrove home. And the town of about 300 is proud to have him to do that.
“My hometown is blowing up over me going to the Olympics,” Richmond said. “There are road signs up and the high school shooting team is making T-shirts. They’re going crazy now. They’re even trying to rename the highway after me.”
Imagine what might happen if Richmond, considered a top contender for the double trap in London comes back with a medal.
“It’s getting very exciting,” Richmond said. “I have a hard time bragging about myself, but my confidence level is high right now. I have been averaging world-class scores lately.”
Joining Richmond on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in men’s double trap will be Glenn Eller, who also is a member of the U.S. Army Marskmanship Unit at Fort Benning. Eller, the Olympic gold medalist in the double trap four years ago in Beijing, qualified for his fourth trip to the Olympic Games.
One difficult obstacle for athletes is trying to handle the magnitude of the Olympic Game and being out of their usual routine. Richmond recalled competed in the Pan American Games in Rio in 2007 and was awed by the Opening Ceremony there and knows the Olympic Games will be even more of an overwhelming event.
Richmond said he has been working with a sports psychologist but perhaps the biggest advantage he has in preparing for the Games is that he was taken out of his comfort zone when he was deployed to Afghanistan for three months late last year. A soldier for nearly eight years, that trip to Afghanistan marked his first deployment and he found out Scharri was pregnant right before he headed overseas.
“I was training soldiers in marksmanship,” Richmond said. “It definitely took me out of my comfort zone immediately. But the good thing was I found out I qualified for the Olympics before my deployment and even though I wasn’t able to train like I usually do, I got into really good physical shape over there.”
While in Afghanistan, Richmond spent some of his down time planning out his regimen for London and visualizing his training.
“It was a good break for me,” he said.
Now, Richmond said he is aiming toward one goal: London. He will go there knowing he has the support of his parents with him and his family back home in Georgia.
“And,” he added, “I know I have the US. Army behind my back.”
Amy Rosewater is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.