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Enjoying and Expecting, American Shooters Ready for Olympics
    2008-08-07 23:22:22     Xinhua
Two days before the Olympics, American shooters gathered in Beijing. Talking about the sports gala, some said they would enjoy while others expected a victory.

Athens Olympic gold medalist Matt Emmons said on Thursday that comparing with the year 2004, he was "physically better and mentally the same" this time.

The marksman, who fired at a wrong target when he was just one shot away from his second Olympic gold medal, appeared light-hearted this time.

"You can't expect to win (medals)," he said. Taking javelin event as example, Emmons noted that those who could throw far enough would be the champion.

"But levels of athletes are similar in shooting, there are five or six guys who could shoot that well," the 27-year-old marksman added.

Sharing his opinion, three-time Olympian Kimberly Rhode said she would "enjoy and relax" this time.

"Whether I win or lose, my family would love me all the same," said the affable girl who had raked in two Olympic golds and one bronze in double trap.

As women's double trap event was removed from the Olympic agenda this time, she is going to compete in skeet, which she picked up just two years ago.

"It was very challenging, both physically and mentally," smiled the 29-year-old.

Compared with the veteran shooters, some up-and-coming boys seemed more ambitious.

Vincent Hancock, 19-year-old talented shotgun shooter who set the world record in men's skeet last year, arrived at Beijing on Wednesday night and had a practice of two rounds in the Olympic shooting range at the western suburb Thursday morning.

Coached by his father, the youngest member of the U.S. shooting team said he expected to win.

"I love winning," he said, "it was a good feeling."

Thus he imposed a lot of pressure on himself. "It helps me to get determined," he said.

Lloyd Woodhouse, head coach of shotgun events in the U.S. shooting team, hoped the shooters could get a good result but not necessarily a medal.

"They worked really hard," said the 73-year-old grandpa who had been coach for 23 years and participated in six Olympics.

"If they could walk out (of the Olympic competition range) and say 'I gave it everything I had and I could give no more', I would be very proud of them."
 
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