Two-time defending Olympic champion Vincent Hancock added to his trophy case Friday, winning the bronze medal in men’s skeet at the world cup event in San Marino.
Third after qualifications, Hancock, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, just missed out on a semifinals shoot-off when he missed his fourth clay in the round. His 15 points gave him a spot in the bronze-medal match, where he went head-to-head with No. 6-ranked Jesper Hansen of Denmark. After a hard-fought shoot-off for a spot in the gold-medal match, Hansen struggled early against Hancock for the bronze, missing his first and fifth targets to give the veteran American a margin of error. Hancock didn’t need it, hitting all 16 of his clays to win bronze. World No. 3 Stefan Nilsson of Sweden took the gold, winning out over Italy’s Tammaro Cassandro, currently No. 10 in the world, in a tense battle that was settled after a six-clay shoot-off.
The first U.S. shooter to win three shotgun world championships, Hancock, 27, now has a total of 16 world cup medals. All five of his world cup finals medals are silvers, to go with seven golds, two silvers and two bronzes from world cup events. In addition to his three world championships golds, he also holds two Pan American Games titles and a pair of golds from the Championship of the Americas.
A medal favorite in Rio, he has won gold and set the Olympic and Olympic finals records at each of the last Olympic Games. He burst onto the international scene in 2005, winning his first world championship, the Championship of the Americas, a gold and three silvers in world cup competition, and setting the world record, all at the age of 16.
Hancock’s bronze means the U.S. contingent will bring home a medal of each hue from San Marino after Josh Richmond won gold Monday in the men’s double trap and Corey Cogdell-Unrein claimed silver last Friday in women’s trap.
The shotgun shooters will have one final opportunity to tune their performances on the international stage before heading to Rio for the Olympic Games June 20-29 when Baku, Azerbaijan, hosts a world cup stop for rifle, pistol and shotgun.