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Matt Emmons, 3-time Olympic Medalist, Retires From Competitive Shooting

By Chrös McDougall | Sept. 11, 2019, 10:50 a.m. (ET)

(L-R) Jonghyun Kim (South Korea), Niccolo Campriani (Italy) and Matt Emmons during the medal ceremony for the men's 50-meter rifle 3 positions shooting final at the Olympic Games London 2012 on Aug. 6, 2012 in London.


Matt Emmons, a four-time Olympian and three-time medalist rifle shooter, is calling it a career.

“Simply put, it’s time,” Emmons wrote on Facebook late Tuesday. “Sure, there’s logic to it, but it’s also a feeling. It’s time to move on to other things, to exercise other talents and grow as a person. I’m ready and excited for it.”

Emmons, 38, said he made his decision in March but waited until now to announce it so that his family could be there. In the Facebook post, Emmons posed with his wife, Katy, as well as his parents and four children — in addition to his 69 international medals, which were spread out on and in front of a large table.

“I had a great run,” he wrote.

A native of Browns Mills, New Jersey, Emmons took up competitive shooting in high school, following an invitation from an FBI firearms instructor. He went on to become the most decorated shooter in NCAA rifle championships history while at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and one year later he made his Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Athens 2004. Using a borrowed gun after his was sabotaged, Emmons won the prone rifle gold medal.

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Over the next 15 years, he added two more Olympic medals — silver in prone in 2008, and bronze in three-position rifle in 2012 — in addition to three world championships medals, 14 World Cup Final medals and 32 world cup medals.

Emmons might have won two more Olympic medals, too, though gaffes on his last shot dropped him out of medal position in the three-position event in both 2004 and 2008, finishing fourth in Beijing.

Along the way, Emmons in 2007 married Katy Kurkova, an Olympic gold medalist shooter from the Czech Republic. He also overcame thyroid cancer prior to the Olympic Games London 2012.

As he looks into retirement from competitive shooting, Emmons said he hopes people will remember his career for more than his medals and records.

“Above that, however, I hope I was able to be a positive role model for others with sportsmanship, humility, work ethic and such,” he said. “Being successful is nice, but being a good person is more important.”

More recently, Emmons has worked as a shooting coach for the U.S. biathlon team, including helping Lowell Bailey to the first world title by a U.S. biathlete in 2017.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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Matt Emmons