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Gray is a two-time Olympian who shook off bitter disappointment in 2008 to earn her way to the top of the podium in 2012. In Beijing, she missed a medal in both Air Rifl e and Three-Position by 1.8 points total.

“Jamie went through ex-

tee Sport Psychologist Sean McCann. “Her toughness will be useful now as well. End- ing an Olympic career early due to injury is one of the most diffi cult challenges an elite athlete faces, and it is especially hard if you know you are one of the best in the world. Although Jamie accomplished so much in her career, she had much more left in the tank, and it is very tough to leave a competitive life when you love competition as much as Jamie. All retiring Olym- pic athletes miss the focus, intensity and single minded- purpose of the athlete’s life. The challenge for Olympians in transition is harnessing their drive and talents to succeed in a post-athlete career.” Competing as an Olym-

pic athlete and earning an Olympic gold medal in Lon- don has provided Gray with unmatched perspective in terms of what the shooting sports has provided her. What began as a way to con- nect with her older brother, turned into a life-long love affair with a game that de- mands perfection, mental

fortitude and the incessant need to educate the masses about a sport limited by its exposure, but yet driven by a passionate following. “This sport has been

part of my life since a very young age and has taught me so much,” Gray said. “USA Shooting has showed me immense support since I was 17, and I learned there is more to the Olympic move- ment than just the athletes. I have made shooting into a career and couldn’t have done that without the sup- port of USA Shooting.” Collegiate teammate and best friend Matt Emmons, a three-time Olympic medal- ist, says for all that the sport has given her, she too has played a part in giving back to the sport and he’s fi lled not with sadness today, but with joy and happiness. “Jamie would tell you that

she wasn’t the most tal- ented shooter, but she was super motivated, focused, and worked harder than just about anyone,” he ad- mits. “Over the years, she sacrifi ced a lot to make her dream come true. If I say ‘I’m happy for her,’ it’s be-

cause of these two reasons: fi rst, her dream did come true. Even with injury, she lived the experience almost all athletes dream about – to go the Olympics, have the best competition of your life, and win a gold medal. She did that and I am so happy I was there to watch it happen. Next, I’m happy because now that she’s re- tired, she will be able to en- joy some of the things she sacrifi ced for that dream. Jamie’s

absolutely not a

one-dimensional person and she has plenty of other goals and interests. I’m excited to see her turn the page and start writing that next chap- ter in life.” Gray is a two-time Olym-

pian who shook off bitter disappointment in 2008 to earn her way to the top of the podium in 2012. In Bei- jing, she missed a medal in both Air Rifl e and Three-Posi- tion by 1.8 points total. Long considered one of

the top rifl e shooters in the world, Gray fi nally got the hardware that solidifi es that recognition on the sport’s biggest stage at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

tremely tough physical chal- lenges on the road to her fourth and fi fth-place fi nish- es in Beijing that would have retired most athletes,” said Jamie’s coach, mentor and now USA Shooting Opera- tions Director Dave Johnson. “After painfully just missing the podium in China and overcoming those obstacles, Jamie briefl y grieved and then went back to work on setting herself up to win in London.” “It was a dream come

true to stand on the top of the podium representing the United States hearing our national anthem be- ing played. Winning at the Olympics is something I had worked towards since I was 15 years old, and that mo- ment and the entire match will never be forgotten. It was such a blessing to cel- ebrate with coaches, team- mates, friends, family and sponsors that helped me get to that moment.” Jamie’s success, accord-

ing to Johnson, was based on two key ingredients of elite-level achievement in any walk of life: the disci- pline to put the hard, often monotonous, work in and the dogged determination to reach her goal. “Jamie’s

legacy in my view will be that there are no May 2014 | USA Shooting News 15

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