In a field of 36 competitors at the Royal Artillery Barracks, 2008 Olympic Champion Vincent Hancock(USAMU/Eatonton, Ga.) is in prime position to top the podium yet again. Leading the Men's Skeet field with 74 targets, Hancock is also set to make his mark on history as he looks to become the first ever skeet athlete to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.
"Today was a really good day," said 23-year-old Hancock. "I went out there expecting to shoot 75 targets but I fell a bit short and missed a target. The weather conditions were great, the range is great, the targets look amazing and just going out there to do my best and shoot 75 tomorrow."
Hancock is also primed to set a new Olympic record, as he shares the previous one of 121 targets with Norway's Tore Brovold from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Teammate and first time Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.) is holding strong with 71 targets for a six-way tie in third. Duo medals for Hancock/Thompson would represent the first time the U.S. has ever put two American skeet shooters on the podium.
Sweden's young star Stefan Nillson is sitting in second with 72 targets and won the ISSF World Cup "London Prepares" Test Event in April on the same range. He's proven that he knows how to conquer the London weather, targets and deceptive background. Denmark's Anders Golding is also in the top three rankings. Despite his 22nd overall world ranking, Golding is capable of the world-class scores required to reach the podium and shouldn't be overlooked.
The competitors should be forewarned that the American contingent is strong and supportive of their athletes. With resounding cheers and waving flags after each station, it's clear who the favorites are in the match.
The final two rounds will take place beginning at 9:00 a.m. BST and the final will be held at 2:00 p.m. BST.
In other action today, Jonathan Hall (Carrollton, Ga.) finished 27th in Men's 10m Air Rifle with 592 targets to complete his Olympic showing. Teammate Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.) was 35th with 590 points and will shoot Men's 50m Rifle Three Position on Aug. 6.
For information on the U.S. Olympic Team for Shooting, and to set up interviews with athletes and coaches, please contact the USOC press officers for Shooting:
719-351-1160 U.S. cell
077-1414-1831 London cell
612-280-6383 U.S. cell