Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Games and has been practised in Europe for hundreds of years. Some German clubs date back more than five hundred years. Shooting grew in popularity more recently in English-speaking countries, particularly with the formation of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the United States in 1871. Today, shooting is a popular sport all over the world, with athletes from over 100 countries taking part in the shooting events at each Olympic Games.
Brief overview of the rules
There are three Olympic shooting disciplines: rifle, pistol and shotgun. Rifle and pistol events take place on shooting ranges, where marksmen aim at targets at distances of 10m, 25m and 50m. There are also three positions: kneeling (where the marksman goes down on one knee and rests the gun on the other knee), prone and standing. Some events include all positions.
To hit the targets as accurately and as close to the centre – the bullseye – as possible, marksmen use relaxation techniques to lower their heartbeat. Shotgun events are different in principle, as they take place outdoors. Marksmen shoot at flying targets fired from different angles and directions. This sport demands a great deal of concentration and sharp reflexes.
Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Games, which was held in Athens in 1896. The number of events has changed from one edition of the Games to the next, increasing from five in 1896 to 15 today. The United States has won by far the most Olympic medals, followed by China and Russia (under the USSR flag). Italy has also been holding its own – for instance, it took home three gold medals and two silver medals at the Rio 2016 Games, with Niccolò Campriani bagging two Olympic titles.
International federation : International Shooting Sport Federation