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Emmons Loses Gold Medal After Aiming at Wrong Target

Monday, August 23, 2004; Page D16

Matt Emmons was just focusing on staying calm. He wishes he had been more concerned with where he was shooting.

Emmons fired at the wrong target on his final shot, a simple mistake that cost the American a commanding lead in the 50-meter three-position rifle final and ruined his chance for a second gold medal.

Matt Emmons of the United States shoots at wrong target, finishes eighth. (Douglas C. Pizac -- AP)

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Ahead after nine shots and needing only to get near the bull's-eye to win, Emmons fired at the target in Lane 3 while he was shooting in Lane 2. He had cross-fired -- an extremely rare mistake in elite competition -- and received a score of zero. That dropped Emmons to eighth place at 1,257.4 points and lifted Jia Zhanbo of China to the gold at 1,264.5.

"On that shot, I was just worrying about calming myself down and just breaking a good shot, and so I didn't even look at the number," said Emmons, 23. "I probably should have. I will from now on."

The mistake lifted American Michael Anti to the silver at 1,263.1 points and Christian Planer of Austria to the bronze at 1,262.8.

In skeet, Shawn Dulohery of the United States lost the bronze medal after a three-way shoot-off with Juan Miguel Rodriguez of Cuba, the eventual bronze winner, and Nassar Attiya of Qatar.

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