LONDON -- Almost a medalist in Beijing. Almost perfect in London.
For Jamie Lynn Gray, four years of anguish was washed away on Saturday.
Gray gave the United States its third shooting gold medal of the London Olympics, winning the women's 50-meter three-position rifle. Her clinching final shot netted 10.8 points -- you can't do better than 10.9 -- and gave her an Olympic-record total of 691.9, 4.4 points better than silver-medalist Ivana Maksimovic of Serbia.
"That last shot is probably one of the hardest shots to take," Gray said. "And I've worked on taking that last shot for four years."
Oh, it paid off.
Gray saw bronze medals narrowly slip away twice in Beijing, settling for fourth in air rifle and fifth in the three-position event -- missing the medal stand by a combined 1.8 points in those events, and seeing what looked like at least a sure bronze in three-position get away on a last-shot mistake.
Not this time.
Gray slipped up a bit on her next-to-last shot in the final, managing only an 8.9, her worst shot of 10 in the medal round. Still, she only needed an 8.3 on the finale to wrap up gold -- and did far more than that, wrapping it up with her best score of the round, and giving the Americans their first three-gold Olympics since 1984.
"I've worked for four years taking that shot, over and over and over again in my head," said Gray, who competed under her maiden name of Beyerle in Beijing. "I shot a bad shot, of course, the second-to-last shot. And I just threw it out. I did a great job of going, 'OK, it's over, it doesn't matter and move on to the next one.' And that's exactly what I did. And it was a great shot -- couldn't ask for anything better."