Vincent Hancock following the skeet finals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 26, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
After a long break, Vincent Hancock is once again an Olympic champion.
The 32-year-old won an unheard of third gold medal in men’s skeet shooting, and his return to the top spot on the podium made it a golden sweep for the U.S. after U.S. Army 1st Lt. Amber English toppled reigning Olympic champion Diana Bacosi of Italy and set her own record just prior to the men’s final at the Asaka Shooting Range.
For Hancock, the gold medal is redemption after winning in 2008 at the age of 19 and again in 2012 but finishing a disappointing 15th in Rio in 2016. The face of men’s skeet shooting in the U.S. was already the first man to win two Olympic gold medals in the event, and his third gold further broadens that legacy.
Hancock said watching English win gold was a great lead-in into his final.
“I knew I was going to be nervous watching her but it was worth it,” said Hancock, who was also part of a U.S. sweep in 2012. “I got to see her shoot her last shots to win the gold and she’s so deserving of it. I was yelling at the top of my lungs so for me it was really exciting. I was like, ‘All right, she’s able to do this, now it’s my turn.’ It really set a great tone and I’m just so proud of her and proud to bring another medal back to the U.S.”
The path to Hancock’s third gold wasn’t without a few bumps. He missed three of his last eight targets in the last round of qualification to land in a shoot-off.
Midway through the final, Hancock, 57-year-old Abdullah Alrashidi from Kuwait, competing in his seventh Olympic Games, and Denmark’s Jesper Hansen were all tied at 29 out of 30. Alrashidi would finish with the bronze medal, leaving the competition to just Hancock and Hansen.
Throughout the match, Hancock remained nearly perfect with only a solitary miss on his first 54 targets. When Hansen missed target No. 54, Hancock took a two-shot lead with only six remaining.