Shooting was part of the first modern Olympics in 1896. With the exception of the 1904 and 1928 Olympics, shooting events have been included at each Games to the present.
A review of Olympic shooting history shows a long list of discontinued events. Early Olympics had multiple military shooting events, while other Olympics up to recent years contested various individual and team events no longer deemed desirable for the shooting competition.
Shooting events exclusively for women started at the 1984 Olympics, although two women have medaled in events designated as open or men's competitions. At the 2012 London Olympics, nine shooting events are slated for men, while women will compete in six.
At present, the U.S. sits firmly in the lead in the Olympic shooting medal standings with 103. China is listed in second with 19 golds among its 42 medals, but Sweden, the Soviet Union and Great Britain have all earned higher numbers of total medals.
The following list includes brief profiles of some of the best shooters in Olympic history:
OLYMPIC SHOOTING GREATS
Willis Lee: Lee was a top shooter for the United States at the 1920 Olympics, garnering seven medals, including five golds. Lee was an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1908-1945 and rose to the rank of Vice Admiral.
Gary Anderson: Anderson captured gold in the 300m rifle three positions at each of the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. He was also a seven-time world titlist for the U.S. and a holder of six world records.
Roger Skanaker: Skanaker was an elite pistol shooter for decades at the Olympics. The Swede earned four Olympic medal-podium finishes: the first was a gold in 1972, and the last a bronze in 1992 at the age of 58.
Margaret Murdock: The first woman included as a member of the U.S. Olympic shooting team, Murdock went on to another first by taking the silver in the 50m rifle three positions at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Marina Logvinenko: Competing at various Olympics for the Soviet Union, Unified Team and Russia over a long, distinguished career, Logvinenko won five medals in pistol events, with a pair of golds. She also tallied nine World Championships medals, including five titles.
Ralf Schumann: Schumann has won five Olympic medals for Germany thus far in his illustrious career. He has three golds to his credit, and all of his Olympic medal-podium finishes have been in the 25m rapid fire pistol.
For more information on Olympic shooting, please see the Sports Reference site.
Patrick Hattman covers the Olympics for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and looks forward to the drama and excitement of the 2012 London Games.