Matt Emmons won the silver medal in men’s three-position rifle at the Olympic test event at the Olympic Shooting Center in Rio, a solid indication that he is on track to win his fourth medal at his fourth consecutive Games.
The final in men’s three-position may have been a preview of the start sheet for the Olympic final in August. The top five in the latest world ranking comprised the bulk of the eight-member field: Emmons at No. 1 in the world, Qinan Zhu of China at No. 2, Serhiy Kulish of Ukraine No. 3, China’s Zicheng Hui at No. 4 and Russia’s Sergey Kamenskiy No. 5.
Emmons was ranked sixth after the kneeling portion to open the final, his 151.2 more than four points off the top score of Zhu. Moving into the prone phase, a position where he won a world title in 2002 and Olympic gold in 2004, Emmons vaulted himself into third at 308.9, trailing the two Chinese shooters entering the elimination phase, which is shot from the standing position.
The first round in the standing phase saw Emmons and the two Chinese separate themselves from the pack, with more than two points over the rest of the field. Zhu then faded into the distance, leaving Emmons and Hui to shoot it out.
When Hui posted a 9.4 on his third-to-last target, Emmons countered with a near-perfect 10.8 to pull to within a point, then upped the pressure with a 10.1 against Hui’s 9.9 on the second-to-last target. It came down to the final shot, and it was there that Emmons blinked, scoring a 9.5 to Hui’s 10.8, giving the Chinese shooter a 463.7 total, a finals world record. Emmons closed out at 461.6.
The medal marked Emmons’ 42nd world cup medal. His first came in 2002 in Atlanta.
Emmons’ medal means the U.S. shooting contingent will return from Rio brimming with confidence and hardware. Glenn Eller started the four-medal haul with his bronze in men’s double trap on Tuesday, followed by silvers from Kim Rhode in women’s skeet and Keith Sanderson in rapid fire pistol Saturday. In addition, Amber English finished fourth behind Rhode, with only one point keeping her from a podium finish.