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Stetson Bardfield Records Top U.S. Shooting Team Finish In First Paralympic Games

By Todd Kortemeier | Sept. 04, 2021, 9:59 p.m. (ET)

Stetson Bardfield competes in the 10-meter air rifle prone SH2 at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 1, 2021 in Tokyo.

 

Stetson Bardfield didn’t even know if he was going to make it to Tokyo.

The 20-year-old was the last member added to the seven-person U.S. shooting team for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, earning his invite via an additional quota awarded by the International Paralympic Committee. He made the most of it, becoming the only member of Team USA to qualify for the finals of an event, finishing sixth in the R5 - mixed 10-meter air rifle prone SH2. 

“I've had so many ups and downs and lots of times where I didn’t know if I was going to make it here,” Bardfield said afterward. “I’m just so grateful to be here now. It was hard fought training to get here and now that I’m here, well, I’m just happy.”  

Bardfield posted a qualifying score of 635.6 then had a strong start to the finals and had the second-highest score after the initial 10-shot series. But Bardfield then posted a 10.0 and 10.2 in the first elimination series. A Parapan American Games Lima 2019 gold medalist in the same event, Bardfield immediately set his sights on what’s next.

“This has been absolutely incredible,” Bardfield said. “The lights are incredibly bright, but it was a lot of fun. I fought hard, and I intend on coming back to Paris and hopefully I can take my gold medal there.”  

YanXiao Gong, Team USA’s lone pistol shooter at the Games, became the only other athlete to place in the top ten, doing so in two events. Gong just narrowly missed qualifying for the finals in both. In placing ninth in P1 - men’s air pistol SH1, Gong was just one point shy of the finals. And in his 10th place finish in P3 - mixed 25-meter pistol SH1, he was three points off the pace. He scored a 0 in the second rapid series which would have made the difference had he recorded a score. 

“Instead of checking off and going over the mental list I’ve been going through, I just tried to enjoy it,” said Gong after his ninth-place men’s air pistol finish.   

Gong has been competing internationally since 2019 when he earned Team USA a quota spot in the P3 - mixed 25-meter pistol SH1. Gong also finished 16th in P4 - mixed 50-meter pistol SH1 in Tokyo.

Jaz Almlie-Ryan competes in the women's R4 mixed 10-meter air rifle standing SH2 at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 30, 2021 in Tokyo.

 

Competing in her second Paralympic Games, Jaz Almlie-Ryan was entered in two rifle events. She placed 17th in the R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 and 16th in R5 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2. 

McKenna Geer, seeking her second Paralympic medal after becoming the first woman to win a Paralympic shooting medal for Team USA in Rio, placed 21st in the R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 and 34th in the R5 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2. Geer also placed 17th in R9 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH2.

Taylor Farmer competed in four events in her Paralympic debut. She finished 14th in the R2 - women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 competition, 32nd in the R3 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1, 14th in the R8 - women’s 50m air rifle 3 positions SH1 and 26th in the R6 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH1.

First-time Paralympian Kevin Nguyen finished 36th in the R3 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1 event and was 20th in the R6 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH1. 

John Joss competed in one event in his second Paralympic Games, finishing 29th in the R6 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH1.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo-2020-Paralympic-Games to view the medal table and results.

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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