July 31, 2012 - U.S. Army marksman Sgt. Vincent Hancock became the first shotgun shooter to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in men's skeet today at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London. Hancock,
23, of Eatonton, Ga., eclipsed his own records set at the 2008
Beijing Games for both qualification (123) and total (148) scores. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, Army IMCOM Public Affairs
LONDON (Army News Service, July 31, 2012) -- In double
record-setting fashion, Sgt. Vincent Hancock became the first
shotgun shooter to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in men's
skeet, today, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London.
Hancock, 23, a Soldier in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit from
Eatonton, Ga., eclipsed his own records set at the 2008 Beijing
Games for a new qualification record of 123 and total score of 148.
He struck gold in China with a qualification score of 121 and total
Hancock prevailed by two shots over silver medalist
Anders Golding (146) of Denmark and by four shots over Qatar's
Nasser Al-Attiya (144), who secured the bronze medal by winning a
shoot-off against Russia's Valeriy Shomin, who is ranked No. 2 in
"Being able to stand up there again and listen to
the national anthem again, it's got to be better," said Hancock, who
also holds the world records for skeet qualification (125) and final
(150) scores. "It hasn't set in fully yet, but going out there and
doing it again and taking the opportunity God's given me to get back
out on the field to compete for the gold medal again, there's just
no feeling like it."
Golding did not feel unfortunate about
settling for the silver.
"Hancock is the best competitor you
can find," he said. "He is very, very strong."
Hancock struggled through a letdown after striking gold
in Beijing and considered giving up his beloved sport. He
came to London ranked 13th in the world by the International
Shotgun Shooting Federation despite finishing fourth at the
London 2012 test event, a World Cup stop here in April.
"The expectations helped me get through 2009," Hancock
said. "I won the world championships to the day afterward a
year later, and last year, I almost considered quitting. I
wasn't enjoying myself going out there anymore. I didn't
want to go train, and for this sport, you have to be
dedicated to your training."
Since winning the 2009
World Championship in Maribor, Slovenia, Hancock had not won
a major title.
"At the end of the year, I knew that I
had to change something," he said. "My wife and I reassessed
what we wanted to do. We prayed about it a lot, and we came
up with this is my passion. This is what I love to do every
single day. So I reset my goals and I wanted to come out
here and win another gold medal and just keep going -- win
as many gold medals as possible."
shotgun shooter and Team USA shotgun coach Todd Graves said
nothing is beyond the realm of possibility for Hancock.
"That's the greatest thing in the world, two in a row,"
Graves said. "He shot lights out, seriously, lights out. I
told him out there when I hugged him that he's the best I've
ever seen. And I've seen a lot."
"I don't believe
that's going to be his last one," Graves added with a wink
and a sly grin. "I really don't think that's going to be his
Having already competed in the Olympics,
Hancock said, was the catalyst for his unprecedented success
"This time I knew what to expect," he
said. "I firmly believe that I'm shooting better right now
than I ever have in my entire career. A month ago to the
day, I won our national championships shooting a 274 out of
275, so being able to come here and shoot a 148 out of 150,
I'm already one target behind. so I've got some working to
"Hey, I leave myself a little room for
improvement next time. Maybe I'll get that 125 and that
Graves said he thought the bird Hancock missed
on Tuesday morning should have broke and the one he missed
on Monday "just kind of jumped on him a little bit."
"As soon as he pulled the trigger, the wind got it and it
jumped up a little bit," Graves said. "Just bad luck. It
happens to all of us."
Hancock missed only one clay
pigeon in 75 shots on Monday and another in 75 shots on
Tuesday despite windy conditions the first day and shooting
the final in constant rain.
"I'll take any kind of
weather," he said. "Surprisingly, people shot well in this.
Usually, when it's raining and kind of windy, people are
going to drop a few targets. But I knew that I wanted to
build my lead, not try to protect it when I came out this
morning. I just put everything I had into every round and
it's a good thing because people didn't miss very many
Graves was not concerned about the
"It doesn't affect him a bit," Graves
said. "Wind, rain, it doesn't matter. The nastier the
dad-gum weather probably the better."
I'll build my legacy enough that my kids and the future
generations of this sport know me and I can pass on my
knowledge to them," Hancock said.
Hancock will leave
the Army in November and open a shooting academy with his
father to teach youngsters how to shoot.
trying to introduce people to this sport that I love so
much. It's given me my life that I have and the family that
I know," Hancock explained.
Likewise, Hancock tipped
his cap to the U.S. Army for its support.
has given me a sense of dedication to myself, to my country
and to my servicemen that I couldn't have gotten anywhere
else," he said. "They've given me the opportunity to perform
at this high level. There are so many things they've given
me that I can't explain it all because I don't know how to
put it in words."
"They have made me into the
man that I am today."
More photos of U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist
Army Sgt. Vincent Hancock during his competition.
By Tim Hipps, Army IMCOM Public Affairs
Army News Service
2008 Olympics > Army Marksman Wins Gold in Skeet
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