Jamie Gray, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist — From First Shots to Golden Shots
Competing as an Olympic athlete and earning an Olympic gold medal in London has provided rifle shooter Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) with unmatched perspective in terms of what the shooting sports has provided her. What began as a way to connect with her older brother, has now turned into a life-long love affair with a game that demands perfection, mental fortitude and the incessant need to educate the masses about a sport limited by its exposure but yet driven by a passionate following. We introduce you to one of the sport’s best in hopes it can help motivate the hesitant or drive the unwilling to learn more about the sport and fire the First Shots toward a lifetime of fun, opportunity and reward.
“One key ingredient that can keep a beginning shooter interested, successful and enjoying themselves on the range is to remember why you want to participate in this sport,” Gray proclaims. “I remind myself of this every day; the reason I shoot and compete is for the love of the sport and the love of competition. If you can always remember why you want to participate in something it can keep you interested and enjoy what you are doing.”
Certainly, Gray and her Olympic teammate Kim Rhode, as well as many of the female representatives of the USA Shooting Team, recognize the role they play in regard to ensuring the participation of women in the shooting sports continues to grow and even more opportunity is generated.
“Women are a big part of the shooting sports and the shooting industry today,” Gray said. “You see the numbers of women shooters growing across the industry as well as more women-driven products. Shooting is a sport for the whole family, whether you are trying to be competitive or just having fun everyone in the family can enjoy it.”
“The biggest difference I see when teaching women is that they tend to listen to what you are telling them more because there isn’t the stereotype that they know everything about guns and shooting,” adds Gray. “Women are so much fun to teach and introduce to the sport because they catch on so fast and you see a huge improvement quickly.”
Gray is a two-time Olympian who shook off bitter disappointment in 2008 to earn her way to the top of the podium in 2012. In Beijing, she missed a medal in both Air Rifle and Three-Position by 1.8 points in total. Over the 120 shots fired, that’s the equivalent of 1/4″ or the size of a pencil eraser between medal and no medal.
Long considered one of the top rifle shooters in the world, Gray finally got the hardware that solidifies that recognition on the sport’s biggest stage at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After an impressive run of making finals in each of four Olympic events she competed in, almost finally became utmost. She added a fifth-place finish to her growing resume as well.
Gray talks about embracing the experience, something she’s certainly done throughout her career.
“Shooting is something that you can enjoy for a lifetime with friends and family. Learning how to properly handle a firearm can be very enjoyable and rewarding.”
And she has the hardware to prove it.
For more information on USA Shooting visit the website at www.usashooting.org.