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A Letter to the Editor


Dear USA Shooting Members: Congratulations to USAS—


all of us. The London Olympic Games capped the best eight years in the history of USAS. Think about four Olympic med- als combined with six medals in Beijing, giving us 10 Olympic medals, plus numerous World Cup and World Championship medals maintaining the United States a powerhouse in the world of competitive shooting.


The


four London medals were great, but more importantly, three of them were gold. On top of that, add the fi fth medal in fi ve con- secutive Olympic Games by Kim Rhode, which was nothing less than spectacular. Don’t miss the fact that Matt Emmons won his third Olympic medal; Vincent Hancock won his second Olym- pic gold; and, Jamie Gray earn- ing her fi rst career Olympic gold medal. How did we get to this top


level? A lot of work by a lot of dedicated people is the answer. Let’s start with the athletes—they are the bread and butter. We count success by winning med- als and they’ve certainly deliv- ered and then some. However, our athletes are more than just medal winners—they are role models and sportsmen/sports- women who are “team players.” Ask Kim Rhode a shooting ques- tion and she is quick to give ad- vice, training tips, and describe


how she does it. Matt Emmons suffered crushing disappoints in Beijing and Athens, but has handled it with dignity and grace. You had to be there to realize the disbelief when it happened and witness that USA Shooting pride leap higher than all countries because of his gentlemanly con-


es,


encouraging the athletes and often presenting medals to our new champions and junior shooters. He is a volunteer with value you could not buy.


Our


referees really fi t somewhere in the volunteer category. Certainly, they don’t come to matches for the small stipend they receive.


tions? Our accountant, Karie Wright, is seldom seen but work- ing every day to keep us straight and in compliance with the United States Olympic Commit- tee and other regulators.


Pete


duct after the loss. Talk about a role model. The volunteers—who and Here, I have no answers.


why?


Some have kids in shooting, oth- ers know little of shooting but show up just to help. Amazing, but we seem to have a whole brigade of volunteers. No way would I even attempt to name them all, but one stands out in my mind and that’s Lt Colonel Lones Wigger (US Army-Retired), a three-time Olympian and per- haps the most prolifi c winner of world-class event medals ever. He is the only shooter ever se- lected for the Olympic Hall of Fame. Colonel Wigger continues to be a presence at rifl e match-


12 USA Shooting News | May 2013


The best referees are the strict- est. That helps our athletes learn the rules and to gain the maturity to become not just winners but champions. As you know, win- ners are easy, but champions are at a whole different level. Our loyal sponsors and do- nors can’t be thanked enough. Gun and ammo manufacturers, businesses, hunting and shoot- ing organizations,


foundations,


and private citizens all contribute to our success. Who gives us the framework


to achieve our goals? Of course, it is the super staff at USAS. How about Kevin Neuendorf and the folks who put out our great magazine and do public rela-


Carson and his staff do a fi ne job running our matches and keeping statistics. Our promo- tions, fundraising, and our sales operations are all working well. Orchestrating our entire program is Executive Director Mr. Robert Mitchell, a previous competitor and coach, who has provided the direction and leadership that has resulted in our enormous success. He has also earned us a front row seat with the Interna- tional Shooting Sports Federa- tion (ISSF) and is the fi rst USAS Executive Director to be elected to the ISSF Council. Let’s talk about our dedicated coaches nurturing and mentor- ing our athletes. I’m not speak- ing of just our own fi ne staff, but all the “shadow” coaches often unseen who assist and encour- age our shooters.


Some have


their own kid shooting, but they are often seen helping others. Tommy Browning


coaches his


daughter and a full army of kids from Arkansas.


Our USA Shooting Board of


Directors, even though you prob- ably cannot name them, they are the “bosses.” They set policy and rules for USAS. These folks are from all parts of our great country,


Dear USA Shooting Members: Congratulations to us all


BY COL D.D. BEHRENS


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