Cancer survivor bids to end shooting jinx

11:01 pm | Thursday, July 26th, 2012

United States shooting athlete Matt Emmons, right, talks with his wife, Czech Olympic shooter Katerina Emmons, as they finish adjacent training sessions for the 10-meter air rifle, at the Royal Artillery Barracks ahead of the the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 26, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

LONDON – US cancer survivor Matt Emmons Thursday said he hoped long experience would help him avoid the incredible meltdowns which robbed him of shooting gold at the last two Olympics.

Emmons — who won the 50m rifle prone event at Athens 2004 — blew his chance on the final shot in the 50m rifle three position at the same Games, and unbelievably suffered the same fate four years later.

In 2004, Emmons shot the wrong target, and in Beijing his trigger finger slipped.

But the troubles paled into insignificance when Emmons, 31, whose wife Katerina shoots for the Czech Republic, was struck by thyroid cancer.

“In 2010, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I had surgery to remove my thyroid, but now I feel good,” he said during training at London’s Royal Artillery Barracks.

“Now I just have to take the thyroid hormone every day because I have no thyroid. But I feel fine. Everything’s good,” added Emmons, taking part in the 10m air rifle and 50m rifle three positions competitions.

Speaking about his hopes for himself and his wife, he said: “I just hope that we can walk away from London saying that we competed the best we could. If that results in some medals, great, that’s awesome.

“As a family we have five Olympic medals. That’s awesome. If we can have some more that would be great too. I hope we can get some but, really, I think we’re both happy if we just compete well.”

Katerina Emmons, 28, won gold in the women’s 10m air rifle and took silver in the 50m rifle three positions in Beijing. She won a bronze in the 10m air rifle in Athens.

When asked how he hoped to avoid last-minute glitches that affected him in Athens and Beijing, Emmons, who also has silver medal in the 50m rifle prone from 2008, said he had worked for many years with a sports psychologist.

“I’ve done a lot of work with our sports psychologist Sean McCann. I’ve worked with him probably the last 12 or 13 years,” he said.

“Also, I guess, I’m getting older. I look at things differently now from how I used to. I said in 2004 and also in 2008 that I’m learning so much every time these things happen, every Olympics, every competition. I’m a much smarter guy than I was.

“Sport is very important to me, of course, but it’s not everything and who knows what’s going to happen. I’ll do the best that I can but I feel fine. We’ll see.”

Tags: London 2012 Olympics , matt emmons , Shooting , Sports

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