Women's 50m Rifle - Olympic Shooting Day 6

The only shooting event on the sixth day of the Olympics was women's 50m three position rifle. Thursday's Olympic action brought the end women's rifle shooting in Rio. The two American representatives, Ginny Thrasher and Sarah Scherer, did not qualify for finals. The women finished 11th and 33rd respectively. This meant the end of the Olympic run for the US women's rifle team. Both women had a mistake during the standing portion of the match. They recovered well, but unfortunately the Olympic stage is not forgiving of mistakes. 

50m Three Position Smallbore Rifle

Three position smallbore rifle is an indoor/outdoor event. Shooters get set up shoulder-to-shoulder and start in the kneeling position. Over a total time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, shooters complete the match at their own pace. They sight in and shoot 20 shots, then change over to the prone position and repeat, then change over to standing and repeat for a total of 60 shots. The maximum possible score is 600, but with wind and lighting challenges the world record is currently set at 594 (coincidentally, on the Rio range but at a World Cup prior to the Olympics).

The top eight scores qualify for the finals match, where the scores from qualification are erased so any of the eight shooters could medal. This is only notable only because it is a recent change - scores in previous Olympics were cumulative, adding the score from a ten shot standing-only finals match to the score from qualification. Ginny benefited from this change in scoring during the air rifle finals, where she moved from fifth in qualification to first overall for the gold medal!

According to USA Shooting's recap

[Ginny Thrasher] was in the Finals hunt until shooting an “8” on her 59th shot (second to last) in Standing. Her 581 placed her 11th, one target back of making Final.
— USA Shooting, 8/11/2016

This is tough - one point separated Ginny from 8th place, and a chance for another medal. She could not have known that fact at the time immediately following the shot. Ginny had to let the result be what it was and execute her final shot well. Ginny finished 11th, and the gold medal went to Germany's Barbara Engleder, who announced she would retire after winning the Olympics and making this amazingly fierce face.

That feeling when you become the Olympic Champion... Congratulations Barbara!! #ShootingSport #Rio2016 #Olympics

A photo posted by ISSF - Shooting Sport (@issf_official) on

Sarah Scherer's 33rd-place finish sadly does not reflect the skill and ability of this Olympic veteran. A crossfire on her first shot in the standing position cost Sarah 10 heartbreaking points in what she had already announced was the final match of her career. Having already experienced a tough match this Olympics, Sarah demonstrated her mental toughness by completing the final 19 shots by turning in some of the highest-value shots in the entire match.

So, instead she rebounded on the very next shot with a 10.8, near perfect. There were 37 competitors on the line Thursday, and Scherer was one of just seven athletes to record a string (10 shots) of 97/100 or higher in the standing position on the day. What makes Scherer’s most remarkable is that she did so on the final 10 shots of her career – after getting a 0. After a zero, she ran off eleven 10s over her final 19 shots. That’s the Scherer way and that’s how we’ll remember her.
— USA Shooting

And that is how you finish in style. 

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