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Shot at wrong target costs rifleman gold

Erik Kirschbaum
Monday 23 August 2004 00:00 BST
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Matthew Emmons is a trained accountant but he got his numbers terribly wrong yesterday. The American sharpshooter was just one shot away from a second Olympic gold medal when he fired at the wrong target in the final round. Gone was the chance of gold - or even silver or bronze.

Matthew Emmons is a trained accountant but he got his numbers terribly wrong yesterday. The American sharpshooter was just one shot away from a second Olympic gold medal when he fired at the wrong target in the final round. Gone was the chance of gold - or even silver or bronze.

Emmons, who had dominated the 50-metre rifle three-position target event and is considered the best in the world in his discipline, got a big zero and plunged to eighth. "Crap happens," said the 23-year-old. "I'll live to shoot another day."

The native of New Jersey, who has a degree in accounting from the University of Alaska and will start graduate school in Colorado next week, said he had never had a "cross-target" violation in at least six years of international shooting.

Although Emmons first appeared stunned and slightly embarrassed, quickly leaving the arena after congratulating the medal winners, he was soon back to his usual affable self.

"I didn't look at the number above the target before the last shot," said Emmons. "I usually always look [through the scope] at the number first and then drop down to the target. I was just working on calming myself down and getting a good shot off. I should have looked.

"It's only happened once or twice in my whole life," said Emmons, who began shooting at 14. "It's never happened to me in international competition."

Teammate Michael Anti, who was promoted to silver, said he felt awful for Emmons. "He was by far the best shooter in the competition and in 25 years of shooting he's the best I've ever seen, anywhere in the world," Anti said. "He shot great but had a mental error that cost him the gold medal."

Emmons said he would be back for the 2008 Olympics. "I don't know if I'll be able to make up for it in four years, but I'm looking forward to Beijing," he said.

¿ A deal to sell the European broadcast rights for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics has been signed for £416m, Olympic officials said yesterday. The agreement with the European Broadcasting Union represents an increase of 40 percent on the last contract. The agreement covered 51 countries, excluding Italy. The European Broadcasting Union and its members have now committed themselves to major additional programming and promotional efforts to support the Olympic brand.

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