|Born:||June 04, 1977|
|Residence:||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Event(s):||10m air rifle|
Strong down the stretch
Just because shooting lacks the ticking clock of a two-minute-drill in football or the waning seconds of a basketball game doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of drama in the final day of the three-day air-gun competition. Having never led after the first two days of competition, 2004 Athens Olympian Emily Caruso was in dire need for a strong final competition. "This one was closer (than 2004); it was nerve-wracking," Caruso said. "I needed to have a strong final day. ... The first two final finals were weak for me." Her first two qualifying scores were respectable enough at 396 and 397, respectively, but it was her two finals scores of 100.7 and 100.0 (out of a possible 109.0), respectively, that left her a bit perturbed. So, Caruso refocused and delivered on day three. She opened with three perfect 100s and missed out on the 400 day with a 99 on her fourth shoot. Her 104.9 in the final -- 3.0 better than what anyone shot that day -- gave her a 4.3 victory over second-place Sarah Scherer.
No need to refresh
Caruso, after running through the gauntlet of post-match interviews and drug tests -- even shooters get tested -- called up her family to give them the good news. She sort of played the role of spoiler with her dad though. Turns out he had been diligently refreshing the USA Shooting website for a couple hours hoping to get a result. "It probably would have been a couple hours before he would have seen anything," Caruso said, noting how happy she is to have such dedicated support.
Getting into peak performance
After some training in Georgia and attending April's Olympic test event in Beijing, Caruso plans to return home for a month and attend World Cup events, including in Milan. "You plan your training to peak at the Olympics," Caruso said. "I use the smaller matches to train ... for certain aspects of the shot training."
Connecticut's sharp shooter
Caruso isn't your average shooter -- she doesn't hunt (but isn't against those who do it for food), is a vegetarian (partially because she's lactose intolerant) and is a member of the NRA (though she admits she needs to re-up her membership) - but she got her start like others. She started shooting NRA-style matches when she was 11 and made progress in the local level before entering U.S. junior competition where she realized, in a very modest way, "I was a decent shooter." She first shot internationally in 2000 after she shot for Norwich University -- a D-III school that competed against D-I schools. She left Norwich with a degree in psychology and may return to schooling to become an elementary school teacher. Currently she lives and trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
An unclear future for the sport
Caruso can admit that it's tougher for shooters to get started these days. "It's harder now," she said. "Growing up there were tons of ranges. Now colleges, including mine, are closing their ranges. ... They're trying to do more air rifle (for younger shooters) ... OSEA doesn't have to be involved as much for safety. ... The problem is that people don't realize it's an Olympic sport."
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