Summer Olympics History: American Greats in Shooting Before World War II

Yahoo Contributor Network

Shooting was included in the first modern Summer Olympics in 1896, and with the exceptions of 1904 and 1928, it has been contested at each Games to the present.

There have been numerous changes over the years to Olympic shooting events. In 1900, for example, live pigeons were used as targets. Also, there were many military rifle events and running target ones-utilizing cardboard deer cutouts-that were on the schedule through 1920.

The following list takes a look at several Americans who achieved greatness in the early years of Olympic shooting:

Morris Fisher: Fisher received five gold medals in 1920 for his efforts in team shooting events. He completed a career in the Marine Corps and was posthumously inducted into the USMC Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Alfred Lane: Lane earned six medals in shooting between the 1912 and 1920 Olympics. Five of his podium finishes were golds, with two of those being individual ones at the Stockholm Games.

Willis Lee: A career Navy officer who rose to the rank of Vice Admiral by the end of World War II, Lee was one of the many shooting stars for the U.S. in 1920 at the Antwerp Games. He secured a place on the podium seven times, with five golds.

Carl Osburn: Osburn won 11 medals during a career starting in 1912 and concluding after three Olympic appearances in 1924. He reigned supreme as a medal winner for the U.S. until his medal tally was equalled in 1972 by swimming superstar Mark Spitz.

John Paine/Sumner Paine: The Paine brothers made the journey to Athens in 1896 for the shooting competition, armed with superior guns and the marksmanship to win gold medals. John easily bested the field in the military pistol for gold, with his brother Sumner doing the same in the free pistol. An interesting summary of the competition includes the fact that some shooters sipped whiskey to soothe their nerves.

Lloyd Spooner: An active-duty Army officer in 1920, Spooner earned seven medals, with four golds, in Antwerp, Belgium.

Related content: A Brief History of Shooting at the Summer Olympics

Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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