BEIJING, China Twenty-one year old Corey Cogdell of Eagle River, Alaska, took home the first medal for the U.S. Shooting team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, claiming the bronze after an exciting shoot-off in the Women's Trap competition.
Cogdell, who has only been shooting International Trap competitively for a little over two years, entered the final round with a qualification score of 69 out of 75 targets. In the 25 target final, Cogdell shot a score of 17 and ended the final round in a four-way tie at 86 targets with Japan's Yukie Nakayama, Diana Gudzineviciute from Lithuania and Elena Struchaeva of Kazakhstan.
Cogdell drew the fourth spot for the shoot-off and after the first three shooters missed their targets, Cogdell hit a small piece off her target to take third place and claim the bronze.
"I didn't expect to do this well after only shooting competitively for the past two years," Cogdell said. "I wasn't even supposed to get on the Olympic team. My goal was to be on the 2012 Olympic team, so to win a medal at the Olympics at this point in my career is really a dream come true."
Cogdell has two medals from previous international events, having claimed the bronze medals at the 2007 World Cup in Korea in her first international competition, as well as the 2007 Pan American Games.
Finland's Satu Makela-Nummela won the gold with a final score of 21 targets, setting a new finals Olympic record and finishing with an overall score of 91 targets. Zuzana Stefecekova of Slovakia took the silver with 89 targets.
In the Men's 10m Air Rifle event, two-time Olympian and U.S. Army Marksmanship (USAMU) member Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) placed 23rd with a total score of 591, while 19-year old West Point Cadet Stephen Scherer (Billerica, Mass.) took the 27th spot with 590.
"It's great to be shooting in my third Olympics," said Parker right after the match. "My performance was disappointing today, but I think I did some things right and I plan on taking that with me into my 3 position competition on Sunday."
Parker will compete in Men's 50m 3 Position Rifle, his second event of the 2008 Olympic Games, on August 17, which is the final day of the shooting competition.
Abhinav Bindra of India took the gold medal in men's air rifle with a total score of 700.5. The silver went to China's Zhu Qinan with 699.7 and Henri Hakkinen of Finland claimed the bornze with 699.4.
On Tuesday at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall/Beijing Shooting Range Clay Target Field (CTF), the men will compete in the 50m Free Pistol event, as well as the Double Trap event. Both events will feature the qualification and finals.
Jason Turner of Rochester, N.Y., the 2007 Pan American Games double gold medalist, and Daryl Szarenski of Saginaw, Mich., a two-time Olympian and member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), will be competing for the U.S. in men's pistol. Szarenski claimed the bronze medal at the "Good Luck Beijing" 2008 ISSF World Cup this past April, which was the first World Cup medal won by a U.S. shooter in Men's Free Pistol since 2000.
USAMU teammates Glenn Eller of Katy, Texas, a two-time Olympian, and Jeff Holguin of Yorba Linda, Calif., who will be competing for the U.S. on his first Olympic team, will be vying for spots on the podium on the Men's Double Trap event.
Both shooters have been extremely successful recently on the international level. Eller claimed the gold medal at the 2007 Korea World Cup as well as the 2007 World Cup Final. He also took the silver medal at the 2008 "Good Luck Beijing" ISSF World Cup. Holguin claimed the silver in Men's Double Trap at the 2007 Pan American Games and won the bronze medal at the World Cup USA this past May.