UAF alumnus bring home medals from London Olympics
Erin McGroarty/Sun Star Reporter
August 28, 2012
Two University of Alaska Fairbanks alumnus made their school proud during this year’s 2012 London Olympics. Matt Emmons (Class of 2003) and Jamie Gray (Class of 2006) each won a medal in the games’ rifle events, which took place at the end of July.
Though their time on the Nanook Rifle team overlapped for only a year, both Emmons and Gray shot for all four years of their undergraduate programs. Emmons competed in rifle in two previous summer Olympics. This year, Emmons won a bronze medal in the men’s 50-meter three position event, earning his first medal ever in the Olympic games. He was in second place up until the last 10 shots of the final competition but was pleased with the end result.
According the UAF Athletic’s website, Emmons said in response to his third place medal “Anytime you can be on the podium at the Olympics is a pretty cool thing. After the last shot I looked down and thought ‘hey, I got bronze, cool’.”
Emmons shot above 10 in each of the 9 shots leading up to his last shot, but shot a 7.6 in his last shot, sinking him from silver standing to bronze. He would have kept the silver placing had he shot above an 8.9.
Emmons has participated in the Olympics three times now. After winning his bronze medal in London, Emmons explained that he was happy to even be at the Olympics this year after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and undergoing heavy treatment in 2010. “Just to be alive is good”, Emmons said.
Four years and four Olympic finals later, Gray took fifth place in the first shooting event of the Olympics, the women’s 10-meter Air Rifle event. Gray was introduced to the international shooting arena in 2002 while shooting for the Nanooks and has won many gold medals since then, but this will be the first Olympic medal of her career. Gray not only won a Gold medal in the women’s 50-meter three position event final, but also broke two Olympic records.
Gray finished her last round with a whopping score of 691.9. This score beat out China’s Du Li who previously held the Olympic record of 690.3 from the 2008 Beijing games. Gray’s final shot of the event was a 10.9.1 point off of an entirely perfect shot.
“I needed patience,” Gray said, according the UAF Athletics web page, “I was on top of it today, it was just awesome.”