McKenna Dahl made history today when she became the first woman to win a Paralympic medal in Shooting for the United States when she won bronze in the R5 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2) event at the Centro Nacional de Tiro Esportivo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Dahl (Arlington, Washington), the youngest at age 20 and the only woman in the field of the eight finalists, qualified for the Final in third place with a score of 635.4. In the Finals, the top-eight shooters from Qualification all start at zero and Dahl lead early from the start of the Finals match, not wavering out of the top-three shooters in this tight contest.
When it came to the elimination shot for the bronze-medal position (the 18th shot of the match), Dahl was in second place and shot a 10.3. The then third-place athlete – Geunsoo Kim of South Korea – shot a 10.8 to move ahead of Dahl where she would claim the bronze medal.
“It's overwhelming!” said Dahl. “I knew about half way thought the Final that I was in contention for a medal and I was probably going to succeed in doing so. A lot of it was really just shot process and breathing, keeping everything together and doing what I needed to do.”
During her pre-event training yesterday, Dahl noted some issues with her rifle’s sights and did a complete replacement of her sights in the middle of the hour-long training session.
“I had some issues with my sights sticking early on and about half way through the PET, they started sticking again so Armando [Ayala, Paralympic Assistant Coach] had brought a new sight and we changed it out. I named it ‘Aaron’ to get to know it better and become comfortable with it so I had a date with Aaron today and it went pretty well!” she laughed.
Dahl’s medal win marks the first U.S. Paralympic Games medal in Shooting since Dan Jordan won silver in Men’s Three-Position Rifle in 2004. Roger Withrow – the only U.S. Paralympic Games gold medal winner in Shooting – won gold in the Air Rifle Prone event in 1984.
Jazmin Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas) battled through illness today and finished in 23rd place with a score of 628.3.
For complete results from the R5 event, please visit: https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/shooting-r5-mixed-10m-air-rifle-prone-sh2-final.
Vasul Kovalchuk of Ukraine won the gold medal for the R5 event.
The Paralympic Games Shooting competition will wrap tomorrow with the R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1) and P4 (Mixed 50m Pistol SH1) events.
John Joss (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Corsicana, Texas) is the lone U.S. competitor in the R6 event. USAMU Rifle Coach Jason Parker said Joss has been shooting scores competitive with his USAMU Olympic teammates in training. Joss also finished in sixth place at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore in the Men’s Prone Rifle event.
Michael Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) is the lone competitor for the U.S. in the P4 event. Though Oleskii Denysiuk of Ukraine will be making his Paralympic debut, he’s currently the top-ranked P4 shooter in the world so look for a strong performance from him. Seakyun Park of South Korea won the gold medal at the Paralympic Games in 2012 and he and the rest of his South Korean teammates traditionally do very well in this event as well.