By Tim Hipps
Army News Service
LONDON, Aug. 6, 2012 – Jamie Gray, wife of U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit shooter Staff Sgt. Hank Gray, won an Olympic gold medal in the women’s 50-meter rifle 3-positions event Aug. 4 at the Royal Artillery Barracks here.
U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program rifle coach Maj. Dave Johnson, who leads Team USA’s rifle shooters in London, coached Gray to the victory.
Gray established Olympic records in the qualification (592) and final (691.9) portions of the event, which includes shooting from prone, standing and kneeling positions.
On the next-to-last shot of the final round, Gray recorded her worst score (8.9) of the day, but she closed with her best shot (10.8) of the finale to seal the victory with a flourish.
“It was almost a little bit of relief, honestly,” said Gray, 28, of Phenix City, Ala. “I’ve dreaded that last shot for four years, and it’s amazing to have it come through and be a good shot.
“It looked good and it felt good, so it was awesome,” she added. “After shooting an 8.9 on the next-to-last shot, you want to come back from that one, and that’s what I did.”
Serbia’s Ivana Maksimovic (687.5) claimed the silver medal, and Czech Republic’s Adela Sykorova (683) took the bronze.
Gray said she realized she could secure the gold after shooting 198 in standing. She opened with a 198 in prone, and finished with a 196 kneeling.
“After I shot a 198 standing, I was like, ‘OK, here we go. This is a good one,’” she said. “The kneeling was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever shot — 20 shots kneeling — and I got through it great. I can’t ask for a better kneeling today. It was windy, and I had one bad shot that just got away from me in the wind.
“Other than that,” Gray continued, “I took just great shots. Every shot was a good shot. After that, I knew that’s a big one and I have a chance at this.”