U.S. shooters filled the podium at the ISSF World Championship on Tuesday, taking gold, silver and bronze in the women’s skeet competition in Changwon, South Korea, marking the first U.S. sweep ever in women’s skeet.
The last time American shooters swept a world championship podium in an Open event was 1974 in men’s three-position rifle.
In addition to sweeping the event, the women secured the United States the maximum two quota spots for women’s skeet at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Caitlin Connor won her first ISSF gold medal ever – after winning world silver in 2015 and six world cup silvers across her career – and was crowned world champion, making it the fourth consecutive women’s skeet world title by an American athlete following the performances of Brandy Drozd (2014), Morgan Craft (2015) and Dania Vizzi (2017).
Olympic shooting legend Kim Rhode, the only woman to win six medals at six Games, won silver for her fourth world medal and Amber English took the bronze for her first in an Open event.
“Today’s final was very exciting,” Connor told the ISSF after the match. “I was a little nervous at first, but then I got into the groove and had fun shooting with my teammates. It feels really good to have three U.S. flags up there. I am glad it was us three. It’s a great day for USA.”
In addition, by having two finishers among the top four the U.S. claimed two quota spots for Tokyo. A quota is an entry in an Olympic event. In shooting, athletes earn quotas for their nation, and each nation determines how athletes will qualify or be selected to fill those quotas. This is the first event in which 2020 quotas are being awarded in shooting; Michael McPhail secured one earlier in the event in three-position rifle.
The Americans finished second (English), fourth (Rhode) and fifth (Connor) in qualification.
In the final, Connor didn’t miss until the 35th target and finished with a score of 57, just ahead of six-time Olympian Rhode with a score of 56. English scored 46.
Connor, Rhode and English were all tied at 37 with just 20 clays remaining and the all-American battle to see who would occupy which spot on the podium was on. Rhode and Connor remained tied until the final station.
Coming into the competition, Rhode was ranked No. 1 in the world, Connor third and English fourth.