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Shooter Keith Sanderson Qualifies For Fourth Olympic Games

By Paul D. Bowker | March 01, 2020, 3:01 p.m. (ET)


Keith Sanderson is on target again for Team USA.

Sanderson secured his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the fourth time in Sunday’s final day of competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shooting.

He will compete for the U.S. in 25-meter rapid fire pistol at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Sanderson claimed the only quota spot in rapid fire pistol, edging Henry Leverett for the Olympic spot in Sunday’s competition at Fort Benning, Georgia, 2,315 points to 2,307 points.

Sanderson, 45, who was a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program while he was serving in the military, made his Olympic debut in 2008 in Beijing, finishing fifth in rapid fire pistol. He followed that up with a 14th-place finish in London in 2012 and a 10th-place finish in Rio in 2016.

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The selection process for the Olympic team consisted of two stages. Leverett, who had clinched the Olympic quota spot for Team USA with a fifth-place finish at a 2018 world cup in Beijing, led after the first stage of competition in October. But Sanderson stormed back with a strong finish this week at Fort Benning and entered the final day with a two-target lead.

Sanderson has a long list of world cup medals and performances, including winning three world cup medals in 2009. In 2017, he won his first gold medal in a world cup final in New Delhi.

“In my first couple of world cup final starts, I really had no idea what I was doing,” Sanderson said after winning his first world cup globe. “It feels great to finally win the title.”

He had won a bronze medal in the 2011 world cup final and has won eight medals in world cup competition, including a gold medal in 2014 at Fort Benning.

Sanderson served in both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army, and began shooting in Marine Corps matches in 1996. He became the chief marksmanship instructor at Marine Corps Base Hawaill. He retired from military service in 2017 and moved from Colorado Springs to the Seattle area.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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