Emmons, 31, won a gold medal at the Athens Games in 2004 in the 50-meter rifle prone and a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. But at both Games, Emmons misfired on his final shot in the 50-meter rifle three position, missing out on a spot at the podium both times, finishing eighth in 2004 and fourth in 2008.
Heading into the 50-meter rifle three position final here Monday afternoon, Emmons was in second place with a score of 1,172, trailing Niccolo Campriani of Italy, who scored 1,180. Many wondered whether Emmons would earn the podium or choke on that final shot.
Emmons’s first nine shots were amazingly consistent, putting him back and forth with Jonghyun Kim of South Korea for a silver medal. Campriani was far ahead. Emmons made his 10th shot, and the crowd held its breath waiting for the result.
Then, the score popped up. On the fateful last shot, Emmons foundered, shooting 7.6. He and the crowd at the Royal Artillery Barracks waited to see whether he would make the podium. He earned a bronze medal, finishing with a score of 1,271.3. Campriani set an Olympic record and snagged the gold medal with a score of 1,278.5; Kim took the silver with 1,272.5.
"Just to be on the podium at the Olympics is a very special feeling," Emmons said. "And I' m very, very happy for that. I' m very happy to be up there with bronze.
"Of course, silver is great, gold is great, but given what I had to work with today, it was a really tough match. Probably the toughest match I' ve ever had to shoot." Heading into the final shot, "I was much more nervous than I wanted to be," he said.