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Emmons gets a medal, finally

By Lin Deren (Xinhua)

09:54, August 07, 2012

LONDON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Finally, Matthew Emmons got a bronze from men's 50m rifle three positions with 1271.3 points at the London Olympics on Monday, ending his unlucky story which troubled him for eight years.

"It's ok, it's on the target," said the American, who missed the target to lose gold at the 2004 Olympics. "Then it was a bronze, so I'm happy."

It was the first Olympic medal for Emmons on this event, though he was so close to it in his last two Olympics.

"The weight of the world was on my shoulders. How I was going to perform, what I was going to do on the last shot. It was very tough to do in the match itself. I made a lot of good shots in the final and I was a lot more nervous than I wanted to be," said Emmons.

He didn't hit his best in the last shot, and a 7.6 points wasn't enough for a silver. However, the shot was better than his final shot in 2004 (0 point) and 2008 (4.4 points).

"One of my early shots, I started to squeeze the trigger and the gun went off. I thought this is not good. It is scary. I was a little bit jumpy on it. It is a huge relief to walk away with a medal," he said.

"I did everything I knew to try to calm my body down. In the last shot I was just shaken and said to myself: ok man, take your breath, do you normal routine, get on your target, keep pressure on your trigger and keep going. Don't hold up, just try to do the best you can.

"I knew it was low and I didn't know I had been shaken so much. Then I looked at the result. Ok, that's 7.6."

His wife Katerina was proud.

"People have been doubting him for the whole four years and I just admire him so much that he got over these and hit the target. I don't think I was able to do that myself," said Katerina.

"He knows that the whole world is watching what he is going to do. It's just great. He was positive at the whole time. It's just really tough when some people making fun of him, which was not nice. People remember him more like a failure than a success, and forget he had won Olympic medals already, and four finals. It was hard for him, but he was very positive."

Emmons had changed a lot since 2008. He has been a dad since 2009, and enjoyed his best season ever at the beginning of 2010. However, the thyroid cancer interrupted all his plan. He had his thyroid removed, and he managed to get back to the shooting range after the surgery.

"I'm just happy to be here, to pull the trigger and compete again."

Emmons has decided to move away from the sport after the Games.

"I am 31 and if I want to continue in three positions I could still be at the top for another 10 years or so. It depends on motivation," he said.

"My main focus starting today and for the next three or four months is hunting, family and golf and all the things I have not had time for.

"Around December or January I will start thinking about my future and I will know if I am still motivated to do this. The last few months have been very hard. It has been a lot of work and road block after road block after road block. We will see."

Niccolo Campriani took the gold with 1278.5 points, setting a new Olympic record. Kim Jonghyun of South Korea bagged the bronze with 1272.5 points.

"It is not how you win but how you take a loss that is important," said Campriani.

"In Beijing, Matt could smile within 10 minutes. He is my role model and my inspiration, and I am really happy he was here with me on the podium today."

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