Less than three weeks away from the shooting competition in 2012 Olympics, areas shooters showcased their skills today at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning.
“I feel good,” said Jamie Gray, a shooter in the 10 meter air rifle. “It’s going well. As long as I walk in and perform, that’s is what it boils down to.”
Gray, assistant coach for the Columbus State University Rifle Team, joined other Olympians at the Pool Range Complex to hone their skills. At least 10 shooters from the area will compete at the games in London.
Joining Gray are seven members from the Marksmanship Unit. They are Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker in three-position rifle, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft and Staff Sgt. Michael McPhail, both competing in men’s rifle; Sgt Josh Richmond in double trap; 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Sgt. Glenn Eller in double trap; and Vincent Hancock, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in men’ skeet. Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson, who was wounded in Iraq, is the first active duty soldier to be nominated for the Paralympic Games to compete in 10 meter air rifle and 50 meter prone rifle.
Uptagrafft and his wife Sandra, a petty officer first class in the Navy Reserves, make up a husband-wife team from the region. “It’s definitely a unique situation,” said Sandra, a shooter in the 10 meter air pistol and 25 meter sport pistol.
Jonathan Hall, former NCAA individual national champion and CSU rifle team leader, wasn’t at the event but will compete on the rifle team.
To prepare for the competition, Olson said he and other shooters talked about mentally preparing for the event while shooting at a recent warm-up match in London. “I’m feeling very good, feeling relaxed and feeling confident,” he said.
Shooting shoulder to shoulder with other shooters gave Olson a chance to experience the same conditions they will face in a few weeks.
“I’m just really concentrating on working on my performance,” Olson said. “I know with a good performance, my score will take care of itself.”