Local shooter Sandra Uptagrafft finishes 28th in Olympic 10-meter air pistol competition but still gets goose bumps thinking about opening ceremony

July 29, 2012 

LONDON -- Local shooter Sandra Uptagrafft finished 28th in qualifying during the Olympic 10-meter air pistol competition Sunday at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Only the top eight qualified for the finals.

Uptagrafft, a petty officer 1st class in the Navy Reserves, finished with a score of 378 (94-91-96-97). The lowest qualifying score was 385.

China's Wenjen Guo won the gold medal with a total score of 488.1 points. France's Celine Goberville (486.6) claimed the silver. Ukraine's Olena Kostevych (486.6) took the bronze.

Uptagrafft is married to a fellow Olympian, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft, who shoots for the Fort Benning-based U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. She will compete Wednesday in the 25-meter sport pistol.

Former Columbus State rifle team member Jonathan Hall competes in the 10-meter air rifle today. Hall won an NCAA individual championship while at CSU in 2010.

U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit member Vincent Hancock will compete today in Day 1 of qualifying for the men's skeet. Hancock won the gold medal in skeet at the 2008 Olympics. Day 2 of qualifying and the skeet finals will be Tuesday.

First-time Olympic jitters, common to many shooters who toe the line for the first time on the world's grandest stage, led to an expected result for Uptagrafft.

"Once I hit the match button, it hit me that I am at the Olympic games, and it kind of took me out of my rhythm," she said. "It took me a while to settle down and refocus. That's what I was able to do my last two strings. It's really disappointing because I knew going into the match that this would happen."

Uptagrafft's sister Andrea traveled from Singapore on Saturday to watch her compete in a match for the first time. Uptagrafft said she was thinking "this is not an example of what to do," and she was disheartened because her sister saw her shoot poorly.

The outcome, though, had no bearing on the joy Andrea experienced while watching her sister compete in the biggest sporting event in the world.

"It was pretty cool," Andrea said. "I was surprised everyone was so calm and calculated. I was trying to keep calm as well because I was slightly nervous and hoping for her to do well.

"I am very proud of her. I know this whole thing is overwhelming."

Uptagrafft's husband, however, was not there for the reunion. He missed his wife's Olympic debut because of a lack of training space at the Olympic shooting venue for upcoming competitors, which forced several Team USA shooters to return to Denmark to train.

Eric will compete Aug. 3 in men's prone rifle. Although he missed Sandra's match, they were able to share something much more memorable when they walked together in the opening ceremony Friday night at Olympic Stadium.

"Walking into the opening ceremonies was the ultimate high," she said. "I still get goose bumps thinking about it now. To walk the opening ceremonies with my husband, hand-in-hand, just made it that much more meaningful and something I will carry the rest of my life.

With one event completed, Sandra is ready to compete again.

"I definitely had a learning experience here, and I am hoping to take what I learned in this match and take it into my next one," she said.

"Hopefully, this got the jitters out of the way, and, if I can execute my shot plan, I hope to find myself in the finals."

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