American sets sights on wrong target


August 22, 2004, 02:15 PM
American Emmons misses out on gold by firing at wrong target

August 22, 2004

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Matt Emmons was just focusing on staying calm. He wishes he had been more concerned with where he was shooting.

Emmons fired at the wrong target on his final shot Sunday, a simple mistake that cost the American a commanding lead in the Olympic 50-meter three-position rifle final and ruined his chance for a second gold medal.

Ahead after nine shots and needing only to get near the bull's-eye to win, Emmons fired at the target in lane three while he was shooting in lane two. When no score appeared on the electronic scoring device for his lane, he turned to officials and gestured there was some sort of error.

``I shot,'' he appeared to say with a quizzical look as three officials in red blazers approached.

The officials went back and huddled briefly before announcing that Emmons had cross-fired -- an extremely rare mistake in elite competition -- and awarded him a score of zero. That dropped Emmons to eighth place at 1,257.4 points and lifted Jia Zhanbo of China to the gold at 1,264.5.

Emmons, a 23-year-old accounting student from Browns Mills, N.J., explained he usually looks at the number of the target through his viewfinder as a reference point and then lowers his gun to hone in on the target.

``On that shot, I was just worrying about calming myself down and just breaking a good shot, and so I didn't even look at the number,'' he said. ``I probably should have. I will from now on.''

If Emmons had fired at the right target, he would have needed only a 7 to win. When judges checked the wrong target, they determined Emmons had scored an all-for-naught 8.1.

``Honestly, when I shot the shot, everything felt fine,'' a stunned Emmons told reporters. ``I looked down at the monitor and I didn't see a shot. On those targets, sometimes every once in a great while, it won't register. The shot just doesn't show up, so that's what I thought happened.''

``For like a half-a-second, I thought, 'Maybe I cross-fired ... no, no, I didn't do that.'''

The mistake lifted Michael Anti, of Winterville, N.C., to the silver at 1,263.1 points and Christian Planer of Austria to the bronze at 1,262.8.

And at the time it happened, it allowed China to tie the United States for the most overall gold medals in the Athens Games at 20.

Emmons' errant shot also overshadowed what had been a successful Olympics that made him one of the feel-good stories of these games.

After discovering earlier this year that someone had apparently sabotaged his rifle, Emmons used a gun loaned to him by a training partner and won the gold medal Friday in the 50-meter prone rifle competition.

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August 22, 2004, 02:42 PM
Reminds me of that West German diver that was all set up for a gold medal and then on the last dive choked and did a bellybuster. This was during the 80s when there were still 2 Germanies and all the East German women athletes looked like men. :p

August 22, 2004, 02:50 PM
"I HATE when that happens"!!:)

August 22, 2004, 02:59 PM
One must focus grasshopper:D DOH DOH DOH!!!!!!:evil:

August 22, 2004, 03:02 PM
He was probably looking at the guy in the next lane and in his best Will Smith voice said, 'But that was a good shot, right?'


These things do happen. We still have to remember that these are generally the best .01 % of whatever field they are in... Pressure is probably overwhelming to say the least.

August 22, 2004, 03:17 PM
I had something similar occur to me at Thunder Ranch a few years back. We were at the 25 yard line, and the guy on the line next to me (San Diego SWAT, if I remember correctly), kept cussing to himself about his crappy shooting, wondering what the heck was going on. Seems his grouping wasn't up to his usual standards. As it turned out, it was MY grouping that wasn't up to his usual standards. :uhoh:

August 22, 2004, 04:36 PM
Been there, done that. Learned a huge life lesson that day.

August 22, 2004, 07:46 PM
Yah I would think most people who have been to a range have shot the wrong target one time or another. Even if they haven't realized it.

August 22, 2004, 08:16 PM
The mistake lifted Michael Anti, of Winterville, N.C., to the silver at 1,263.1 points

What an unfortunate name for a competitive shooter :neener:

Maj. Michael Anti (

Standing Wolf
August 22, 2004, 08:48 PM
I shot the wrong target once myself. Naturally, it was a 10.

August 22, 2004, 11:15 PM
I, as well, shot at the wrong target just two weeks ago. Sad part was we were just starting to chrono some loads and were shooting through my buddies BRAND NEW Oehler. I though he had lined up the target where we could shoot at it, and it would go right through the chron. However, I sighted in on the WRONG target and bang, right through one of the pieces supporting the sunscreen. 5th damn shot. It shattered everything on that end.

He was not amused....

Cost me only $35 to replace the parts, hardly a gold medal though.

It happens to the best of us.

August 23, 2004, 07:46 PM
I cross fired last year in the JC Garand match at the Nationals on my first off hand round. Cost me a bronze! Should have seen the shocked look on the guy next me when he got an X without even firing a shot.

August 23, 2004, 10:25 PM
I once donated an X ring shot on a 300 yard shot. The guy who got it placed above me--he had totally missed one of his shots and counted mine. I didn't win...

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