Shooting events test the skill and accuracy of athletes, but it takes more than just precision and physical ability to be one of the best shooters in the world. In fact, some would say that shooting is just as much of a mental sport as it is a physical one. Because many of the shooting events require athletes to calm their bodies and lower their heart rates between shots, shooters have to be able to withstand both the physical and mental challenges of the sport.
Each of the shooting events can be classified based on the type of weapon used to shoot. Those three weapons are the rifle, pistol and shotgun. Though the techniques, tactics and mental challenges vary from gun to gun, the basic concept is the same: Hit as many targets as possible.
Shooting Format at the 2012 Olympic Games
The 2012 Olympic Games will include nine men's and six women's shooting events, and for many of the competitions, the format is fairly similar.
In many of the 15 events, shooters must hit as many targets as possible during the qualifying round, and those with the highest score at the end of the qualifying round often move on the to final. For many of the shooting disciplines, the final is made up of six or eight shooters, and the athlete with the highest combined preliminary and final round score is crowned the winner.
Specific Rules in the Olympic Shooting Tournament
Obviously, each of the 15 shooting events has rules of it's own. Here's a quick run down of some of those rules:
Rifle and Pistol Targets: Each of the rifle and pistol events uses round, circular targets. Shooters score more points for hitting the target closer to the middle, also called the bulls-eye.
Shotgun Targets: For each of the shotgun events, flying clay targets are used. The shooter's goal is to hit each and every target that is launched into the air, and the shooter who hits the most targets wins. In the trap event, shooters are allowed to take two shots at each target, while only one shot is allowed in the double trap and skeet events.
Time Limits: Each pistol and rifle event has its own time limits, and shooters must try to hit as many targets as possible in the allotted amount of time. In some of the faster events, such as the rapid-fire pistol disciplines, shooters only have seconds to take each of their shots. In the rifle events, more than a minute is often allotted for each shot.
Sandra Johnson is an avid Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46