|Born:||April 05, 1981|
Mount Holly, NJ
|Hometown:||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Residence:||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Ht: / Wt:||5'10" / 165 lbs|
|Event(s):||Rifle 3 position; Rifle prone|
A one-shot drop
Matt Emmons was one shot away from his second gold medal of the Athens Games. After a so-so qualification round in the 3-prone event, Emmons exploded out of the gate in the 10-shot finals. By the ninth shot, Emmons enjoyed a three-point lead over his competition -- in an event like rifle shooting, which measures tenths of a point in the final, Emmons could have had a horrible shot by Olympic standards and still won gold. "All I had to do, for me anyway, was just hit the target -- hit the target -- and you win," Emmons said. So, he shot, and the wrong kind of history was made. He aimed and shot at the wrong target and recorded a zero by the rules. Emmons finished eighth.
Good story, great sport
Obviously, it was a story that the media ate up; not many lose a gold medal in one breath. But Emmons' reaction to the event was not what one might expect. He actually went over and hugged teammate Michael Anti once he found out Anti had moved into the silver spot. And his interaction with the judge who delivered the bad news is just as memorable as the event itself: "I didn't realize this until a year later, but that juryman who came up and told me what happened -- he came up to me at a World Cup (event) and said to me, ‘Do you remember what your first words to me were after I told you what happened?' I said, ‘I don't remember.' He said, ‘You looked at me and said that will make a hell of a story.'" As for if the day still eats at him? "It was a really big story -- this guy who gave away a gold medal," he said. "But whatever, I had a good performance. I was happy."
A golden lining
After the loss, Emmons, good attitude and all, went to a beer garden near the range. Before he knew it, he had a visitor in Katerina Kurkova, an Athens silver medalist in air rifle for the Czech Republic. "I looked up, and it was one of those, ‘Oh my god, she's talking to me,' (moments)," Matt said of meeting Katy for the first time. Before they knew it, the two were hitting it off, and after a couple years of working out certain items, they were married in the summer of 2007.
Back to business in Beijing
A newlywed he may be, but Matt is back to defend his prone rifle crown at these Games -- and possibly claim the title he missed out on. He has already received qualification berths in each and just missed out on qualifying for a third event, air rifle, at March's U.S. Olympic Air Gun Trials. At the "Good Luck Beijing" Olympic test event, Emmons -- who told the Xinhua News Agency that "I won't show my best here. It was just a test event for experience and ... just a world cup medal. It doesn't mean anything" -- still earned a silver medal in the 10m air rifle competition.
A little backwards
It was said that he was using this competition as just practice, but it is comical to some degree that Emmons finished the test event with one medal in an event he won't compete in at the Olympics and earned just a fourth-place finish in the men's rifle 3-positions while not even qualifying for the final in rifle prone competition. Go figure.
Perfection follows him
Not only does Emmons have a gold medal under his belt, but he's also one of the few people in this world to have pitched a perfect game in baseball. Emmons' achievement came for his high school baseball team in Pemberton, N.J.
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