Rio In Sight: Josh Richmond Secures Olympic Double

Josh Richmond
Josh Richmond
USA Shooting
USA Shooting

Tillar, AR -( Josh Richmond just added his name to a second U.S. Olympic Team roster by winning the Men’s Double Trap competition Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun at the Delta Resort & Spa just outside Tillar, Arkansas.

Staff Sergeant Richmond (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) will join USAMU teammate and soon-to-be five-time Olympian Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas) in the event at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August. Eller, who won gold at the 2008 Olympic Games, qualified through the Olympic Points System based on his performances internationally in 2015. Eller and Richmond were also teammates on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team where Richmond finished in 16th place.

Richmond claimed the second quota in Men’s Double Trap decisively by wrapping Qualification with a nine-target lead prior to today’s Final, rendering its outcome inconsequential. Richmond finished the match, however, with a flourish – building his lead to 11 points over 2008 Olympian Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, California) who finished in second place overall. Derek Haldeman (USAMU/Sunbury, Ohio) finished in third.

All Olympic Team nominations are subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee.

The Men’s Double Trap competition at this second part of the Trials process consisted of two consecutive days of 150 targets each, as well as a Final at the conclusion of each day. Each day’s qualifying scores and points from the event Finals from this match were added to the Qualification and Finals scores from the first part of the Trials in Tucson, Arizona in October to get a cumulative total.

Entering this final part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Richmond held a slight advantage over his USAMU teammates Holguin and Haldeman because of the additional points earned with his first-and second-place finishes in the Finals in Tucson, Arizona. Holguin has been the most consistent double trap shooter for the U.S. this quad having earned five World Cup medals including gold in the 2014 World Cup Final. After the first day of competition in Tillar, Holguin had placed himself in contention of the Olympic Team slot, finishing seven better than Richmond in Wednesday’s qualification round, putting him only three targets behind Richmond overall. In Thursday’s 150 qualifying targets, Richmond bested Holguin, 140-134.  Over the four finals, Richmond earned 19 bonus points, to Holguin’s 10, meaning that Richmond was just two better than Holguin throughout all four qualification rounds.

“It’s really hard to describe the level of competition faced this week and what started last fall in Tucson battling it out with my teammates and fellow soldiers on the unit,” Richmond said.  “It was incredibly difficult and I just tried to stay in the moment. I’m thankful I was training the way I was and had the resources I needed to put myself on top of the podium.”

On how he hopes Rio will be different from his experience in London, Richmond added: “I feel like I left a lot on the table last time in London, but until you get into the Olympics, it’s really hard to prepare for the excitement and amount of new experiences you’re just not used to dealing with. I’m looking forward to going back, staying humble and making that day our day.”

The 11-time World Cup medalist and two-time World Champion seemed to be building for this moment as 2016 has progressed. He got a sneak peek of the ranges he’ll now shoot on in Rio when he was a shootoff away from reaching the Finals during the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Brazil last month. He also finished just one target out of a potential Finals berth at the ISSF World Cup in Cyprus in March.

Richmond’s hometown of Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania is located in Sullivan County, the smallest county in the state with just 6,351 people. Richmond’s 2016 U.S. Olympic teammate Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania) just so happens to be from the same county. Craft earned her U.S. Olympic Team nomination in Women’s Skeet through the Olympic Points System.

“I graduated in a class of 60 people in my hometown and there’s more cows than people and just one red light, so to think this is happening is unreal,” Richmond said.  “The impact that we’ve had in the shooting sports mostly due to the junior programs we’ve had, the coaching we have through Les Greevy and other volunteers, and the North Mountain Sportsman Association is just tremendous.  What started out as a hobby hanging out with family and friends has now turned into this and we’re going to be in the limelight hanging out on the biggest stage in the world.”

Three more shotgun athletes will be named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team by the conclusion of these Trials. The men’s and women’s Skeet athletes who will join Craft and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) will be determined by the conclusion of Friday’s Finals.

In the women’s competition, five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) is in the lead by 14 targets having shot a 72/75 Thursday. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) currently sits in second place and Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) sits in third, one target back of English.

On the men’s side, 2012 Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) doubled his lead from two to four after a perfect 75/75 ThursdayHayden Stewart (USAMU/Columbia, Tennessee) is in second after dropping just one while Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas) sits just one back of that in third.

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