In the one shooting event on Monday August 8 at the Rio Olympics, the USA did not win any medals. Both American competitors performed well but that was not enough to qualify in the top eight for a spot in the finals match and a shot at a medal. Archery events had plenty of drama, as two upset matches blew the medal chances of the lone American female archer and the men's world-record holder from Korea.
Men's Air Rifle
While Lucas Kozeniesky and Dan Lowe didn't medal, they performed admirably by shooting close to their match average at what is arguably the most high-pressure match of their young careers. Lucas finished 21st in the 60-shot men's air rifle event with a score of 622.3 and Dan finished 34th with a score of 620.0.
In a post-match interview, Lucas and Dan each shared about match prep and the mental aspects of shooting precision air rifle. Says Lucas: “Given my preparation, it’s similar to what I expected, and I was ready for the type of pressure I felt. My hold wasn’t as pretty as it usually is and there’s a couple things that went wrong, but overall it was a great experience. Shooting a 622 in my third international competition - at the Olympics - I’m pretty proud of myself.”
Dan shared that no matter how good a shooter you are, the pressure at the Olympics will push you beyond what you've trained. "It was a lot of pressure. I did some of the best shooting in my life during my sighters. That was me figuring it all out. And then I click start and I haven’t found everything I need mentally yet to do the same performance in the match. I need to start focusing on the performance and not the result. I’ve been working a lot it these past six months, but I’m not quite there.”
Both Americans' scores were quite good - Lucas' 622.0 is an average score of a 10.37 across 60 shots, and Dan's score averaged 10.3 on each shot. A perfect shot is scored as a 10.9, so the maximum possible score in the event is 654.0. The event winner, Nicco Campriani, shot a 630.2 (average score of 10.50) which is an Olympic Record and a big deal for the fact that Nicco won the gold in 2012 in men's 3x40 smallbore rifle. If he wins the men's prone event later this week he could be only the second shooter ever to win each rifle event in the Olympics.
I hope to see both Lucas and Dan continue to push themselves. Lucas is active on social media and has shared some insights into his training methods and his mindset going into the Olympics. Keep it up, Lucas!
Day 3 of the Olympics was unfortunately the last day of the Olympics for the lone female American archer. Mackenzie Brown made it into the round of 64 after her 641 score in the ranking round. She was seeded 19th in the round of 64, and won her first match against Italy's Claudia Mandia. She suffered a heartbreaking loss in the round of 32 to San Yu Htwe of Myanmar, who was a tripartite quota slot winner and ranked 196 in the world. Mackenzie Brown was ranked 4th in the world.
On the men's side of the archery events, all three USA archers are moving forward into the elimation round following their silver medal team win on Saturday. USA's Brady Ellison is now the top-seeded archer after Kim Woojin was eliminated in an upset match in his first match after the ranking round, during which Kim Woojin set a world record with a score of 700 out of 720.
Not a a bad day for the American men's contingent, but I sure wish we still had a lady archer in the mix at the Olympics.