|Men’s Free Pistol|
|Gold||Jong Oh Jin (KOR)||563||97.4||660.4|
|Silver||Jong Su Kim (PRK)||563||97.2||660.2|
|Bronze||Zongliang Tang (CHN)||565||94.5||659.5|
|4th||Vladimir Isakov (RUS)||563||95.9||658.9|
|5th||Oleg Omelchuk (UKR)||563||95.9||658.9|
|6th||Pavol Kopp (SVK)||563||94.6||657.6|
|7th||Tanyu Kiriakov (BUL)||562||94.8||656.8|
|8th||Damir Mikec (SRB)||559||96.8||655.8|
|14th||Daryl Szarenski (USA)||555|
|41st||Jason Turner (USA)||553|
U.S. Misses Out on Free Pistol Final
Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski of Saginaw, MI, couldn’t overcome a couple of bad strings in the first half of the free pistol qualification match and missed making the final by four points. Szarenski stumbled a bit out of the gate with a 91 out of 100 on his first 10 shots, came back with a 94, but then fired an 88 that effectively ended his chances to get into the final. His total score of 555 out of 600 put him in 14th place; it took a 559 to get into the eight-man final.
Teammate Jason Turner of Rochester, NY, who’d made the final in men’s air pistol and came within a point of winning the bronze medal in that event, fired a 553 in free pistol to come in 21st.
China’s Zonglian Tan tallied a 565 in the qualification round to pace the field by two points, but he surrendered that margin on the very first shot of the finals with a 7.9 (in the finals, each scoring ring is divided into tenths; a center 10 can score up to 10.9 points). Tan’s bad shot allowed South Korea’s Jong Oh Jin, who entered the finals with a 563, to surge ahead by firing a 10.3 on his first round. He never surrendered the lead and won the gold with a 660.4.
The race for the silver was a back-and-forth battle between Tan and Su Jong Kim of North Korea that saw them change places four times. Halfway through the final they were tied at 611, and by the last shot Tan held a 0.6-point lead, but Kim fired a 10.5 to Tan’s 9.2 to pass him for the silver.
The free pistol match was essentially a continuation of the battle for supremacy in slow-fire pistol between the three nations. In men’s air pistol, South Korea’s Jin and North Korea’s Kim finished second and third, respectively, behind Wei Pang of China.
Pistol: Any .22 Long Rifle pistol. Hand covers are permitted as long as they don’t cover the wrist. Morini and TOZ-Vostock makes are most common.
Range: 50 meters
Scoring: The target is 500mm (19.69 inches) wide, with scoring rings 1 to 10. The black portion containing rings 7 to 10 is 200mm wide. The 10-ring is 50mm (1.97 inches); the inner-10-ring is 25mm. In finals competition, the scoring rings are divided into tenths; the maximum value for a center 10 is 10.9.
Course of Fire: 60 shots standing, unsupported, in 2 hours
Finals: The top eight competitors fire 10 additional shots, one at a time, with a 75-second time limit for each. Scores are immediately posted and standings updated after each shot. The top shooter from the qualification round is squadded on point one, the second-best shooter on point two and so on.
What to watch for: “Imagine standing there for up to two hours trying to hit a 10-ring not much bigger than a casino chip with a one-hand hold,” says U.S. pistol coach Sergey Luzov. We can’t either. According to Luzov, this event is much more demanding than the other slow-fire men’s event, air pistol, because mistakes are punished much more–due to the magnifying effect distance has on any breakdowns in hold, trigger control or, most importantly, concentration. “You make a mistake in air pistol, you might shoot a 9; in free pistol that same mistake could end up being a 7.” And to make it even harder, when they’re in the finals they have to shoot each shot within an individual time limit, which is different mentally and tactically from the qualification portion, where they can shoot at their leisure.
The Russians dominate this event, with the Chinese right behind, but there are a lot of athletes capable of putting the scores together to climb onto the medal podium. And that includes Szarenski and Turner, the U.S. contingent. “Both have been in finals competition,” Luzov says, citing Szarenski’s bronze medal at the Beijing World Cup earlier this year as an example.
Past U.S. medalists
Joe Benner, gold, Helsinki 1952
Offutt Pinion, bronze, Melbourne 1956
Olympic record: 581, Aleksandr Melentiev, Soviet Union, Moscow 1980
with finals: 666.4 (570+96.4), Boris Kokorev, Russia, Atlanta 1996
World record: 581, Aleksandr Melentiev, Soviet Union, Moscow 1980
with finals: 676.2 (577+99.2), Wi
lliam Demarest, United States, 2000