The International Olympic Committee officially recognizes 206 places as entrants for Olympics games. We used ‘places’ because some of them are more of territories or regions rather than countries. Some countries fell apart or renamed while blazing their trail through the history. We have tracked all the shooting medalists of the Summer Games and here's what we found out!
1. Country of silver has only had silver
Argentina 🇦🇷 has a single occasion of taking the shooting podium. Carlos Enrique Díaz Sáenz Valiente made it possible in 25m rapid fire pistol at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Couldn't be anything else but silver (Argentina comes from Italian "argentino" - "silver"). Seemingly, it was the peak of his success, as he won World Championship just the year before. After that Carlos has ranked 4th at the next Olympics in Helsinki
2. Olympic Gold at the National Olympic Committee
Lithuanians also earned their only medal shooting clay targets (trap), but in this case it was gold! The award was obtained by Daina Gudzinevičiūtė at Olympics 2000 in Sydney. Today Daina performs as president of National Olympic Committee of Lithuania.
3. Comeback that took 12 years
Colombian 🇨🇴 Helmut Bellingrodt has earned two Olympic medals in 50m running target for his country. Both of these are silvers won with 12 years gap! However, these are only medals Colombia has ever earned in Olympic shooting disciplines.
4. Three Olympic medals for two countries
Georgia 🇬🇪 has only one medal (bronze), won by Nino Salukvadze in 2012 London Olympics. Nino used to represent Soviet Union before it fell apart - during that period she won extra two medals in Seoul 1988.
By the way, Nino is featured in one of our recent Blog posts: Read 4 Victorious Shooters Who Visited The Most Olympic Games Ever
5. First ever Olympic medal goes to shooting
United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪 have competed in eight Summer Olympic Games and never appeared in the Winter Games. Of two medals in total, the first one was awarded at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece and it was gold. Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohammad bin Hasher Al Maktoum has won the first ever Olympic medal for his country.
6. How to become a hero of Vietnam
A little over a year ago Hoàng Xuân Vinh of Vietnam 🇻🇳 has doubled the amount of Olympic medals for his country, simultaneously bringing Vietnam’s first gold medal. This took place in Rio de Janeiro, where Hoang ranked best in Men's 10 metre air pistol and also took silver in men’s 50 metre pistol.
By winning gold on 10 meters Hoang also set an Olympic record after ISSF rules' change on January 1, 2013.
7. The proven guns of Summer Olympics
Want to hear the Juggernauts of the Olympic shooting medals? Well, no intrigue here. The United States 🇺🇸 has won gold at every games at which it has competed, more gold and overall medals than any other country of Summer Games. US rank 1st in more than 15 Olympic sports by the medal count, and shooting is no exception. They brought back total of 110 shooting awards from the Summer Olympics, and gold makes almost half of them (54).
China 🇨🇳 comes next in rank with total of 56 Olympic shooting awards (which makes US shine even brighter). And the 3rd place belongs to non-existing Soviet Union that still has 49 medals. Pretty amazing!
8. Two medals at once; both taken away
The only country that had their shooting medals stripped is North Korea 🇰🇵.
Kim Jong Su has originally won the silver medal in the 50 metre pistol and bronze in the 10 metre air pistol during 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Three days after the International Olympic Committee announced that he had tested positive for the banned substance propranolol during a doping test. Propranolol is a drug that prevents trembling, therefore it could factually influence Kim’s results.
Fun stuff didn’t end there.
While media outside North Korea reported on Kim's disqualification, the Korean Central News Agency did not mention the incident. On August 15, the day when Kim Jong Su officially had his medals revoked, the Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong Su placed second in the men's 50 metre free pistol and third in the men's 10 meter air pistol.
Enjoyed these fun facts? Read more to find out how the airgun has evolved!