Russian shooters won’t miss out on medals in London
Shooting is one of the oldest modern Olympic disciplines. And while there were just three shooting events at the inaugural modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens, there will be 15 disciplines in London 2012, with 390 athletes taking part.
The USSR quickly established themselves as one of the heavyweights in the sport alongside the US and China.
Russia continued that winning tradition with gun-in-hand and the current line-up are optimistic about their chances of glory this summer.
“We unveiled a squad for the Games at the beginning of the year," Igor Zolatryov, Russia's coach, said. "Since then the athletes have had time to prepare without any pressure. I'm sure this will boost their performance. We secured 24 licenses and will have athletes in every event. Every shooter can win a medal. That's why they are going there. We don't have tourists in this team.”
Shooting is a tense sport that requires immense reserves of skill, concentration and nerve.
In this sport they rely on mental power much more than physical fitness, with the oldest Olympic champion in history aged 64 when he won for Sweden.
The London Olympics will be the fourth Games for relative youngster 39-year-old Lyubov Galkina and, in her words, probably the last.
The 2004 Olympic Champion thus eager to add more medals to her already impressive tally.
“I hope to win two events,” Galkina said. “Everyone who's going to the Olympics aims for gold. I'm no exception. If all our shooters are at their best I think we will win lots of medals.”
Vladimir Isakov has been a member of the national team since 1991 and will be at his fourth Olympics this year.
In 2008 in Beijing, he finished just outside the medals in the 50-meter pistol event.
But after the silver medalist was disqualified for doping use, 42-year-old Isakov was left with his second Olympic bronze.
“You can't get used to performing at the Olympic Games,” he stressed. “It's a unique competition and every Olympics are very special. To perform there is a great honor for any athlete.”
The 2012 Summer Olympics are to be held in London between July 27 and August 12.