Ever since the birth of the modern Olympic movement at the 1896 summer Olympics, the sport which is called the Olympic shooting has already been included at every Summer Olympic Games. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement, was an avid pistol shooter and had a passion for shooting.
He supported the inclusion of four pistols and a rifle event as part of the Olympic movement. Which gave birth to the Olympic shooting sport today. Now, thanks to de Coubertin’s support and other phenomenal athletes, the current Olympic program consists of 15 Olympic events across rifle, pistol, and shotgun.
Why did they recognize shooting as an Olympic sport?
Shooting is qualified to be part of the Olympics for many different reasons. This sport requires both the mind and body’s performance, which then will play their equal parts.
The enactment of movement combined can create the most challenging skill to master, which is precision. Few other sports require refined motor skill and precision of shooting, the Olympic shooting necessitates the combined physical and emotional aptitude that is needed for sport shooting success.
You also need very precise body control skills considering that motor control sports are more disrupted by pressure, anxiety, or nerves than other sports such as running or swimming.
- External Factors
There are also many factors to consider, such as wind, sweat, position, etc. Once your standing position is uncomfortable, you have to change it. Bearing in mind that you already are comfortable with your hands’ position, you have to move your feet just a little bit to maintain your arms’ comfort.
In running, if you are a bit off, or you are just having a bad day, you still would have a chance to get a silver or a bronze medal. That does not apply to this sport, since one slight error can already cost you a medal.
- Mental Strength
Undoubtedly, every Olympic sport needs physical and mental requirements, but shooting has the most challenging cognitive requirement than any other Olympic sport. Shooting requires a lot of mental strength, but it doesn’t mean that it is purely mental.
Athletes train their gun handling by holding a book between their thumb and finger, arms outstretched, maintaining that position for 30 seconds up to a minute. Imagine doing that for 40 to 60 times and making sure that your arms won’t shake. That requires a lot of physical strength and discipline.
Discipline isn’t only for physical strength. You also need to have it mentally. You have to discipline your mind for it to stay quiet and remain calm. Keeping your mind focused so that random thoughts and unnecessary distractions won’t get through you. You need to calm down because you have to reduce the amount of variability that could cause an error.
Knowing when to pull the trigger and waiting for the right timing. Considering all the factors such as the wind and noise while maintaining your mind’s calmness. A silent war while you are holding the gun in your outstretched arm.
The things that I just mentioned earlier were only for a 1 shot try. The competition doesn’t end on a 1 shot so imagine doing that again for the next couple tries. Athletes must stay through an entire match with a plan, not just go without thinking. So basically, the Olympic shooting is fit to be part of the Olympics.
It is also considered an Olympic sport because, just like any other sports category, shooting also needs investment. Whether it could be the time in training and practicing or investing in equipment like pistols, ammunition, belt, holsters, etc.
Some commonly used sports pistols are Benelli MP90S, Walther GSP, High Standard .22 Pistol, and the Smith & Wesson Model 41. According to rules, sport pistols must be in caliber .22 LR, just like the .224 Valkyrie and 6.5 Grendel’s range. Protective equipment such as eyeglasses or sunglasses should be ANSI rated. For ear protection, it can range from earplugs to electronic ear muffs—all in all costs a hefty sum.
All of these facts stated above are enough to qualify shooting as a part of the Olympics. It has comparable stats with the rest of the sports, and with that being said, it is no question that an athlete of this sport can bring pride to his/her country.