Callahan Finishes 19th in Olympic Pistol, Vows to Shoot for Beijing
By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service
ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 18, 2004 Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Elizabeth "Libby" Callahan finished 19th in women's 25-meter pistol shooting today in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games at Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre.
"I worked very hard today," said Callahan. "I had some moments of terror and flashes of brilliance, but it just didn't work out for me. I'm disappointed, but I have to look at the positive things in my performance and dwell on that to get through to the next time."
Bulgaria's Maria Grozdeva won the gold medal with a final Olympic record score of 688.2 points. She also won the event in the 2000 Sydney Games. Czech Republic's Lenka Hykova, 19, won the silver medal with a 697.8 total. Azerbaijan's Irada Ashumova took the bronze with 687.3 points.
Callahan, a native of Columbia, S.C., who lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., registered 286 points in three precision series and 289 in rapid fire for a 575 qualification total. The cutoff to reach the eight-shooter final was 580 points.
The precision portion of the event, also known as sport pistol, uses an electronic 10-ring target with a two-inch 10-ring. The rapid fire stage has a target marked with rings from five to 10 with a four-inch 10-ring.
"I had some really good strings and then some strings that weren't so good," said Callahan, a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program. "I set some goals for the match, and for the most part, they happened. There are always lapses that happen and I'm disappointed I didn't fight through that, but there were times that I really fought through it and came out OK."
Despite being the oldest athlete on Team USA, Callahan, 52, said her pistols are pointed at the 2008 Beijing Games. "Oh sure, why not? I've never been to China," she said with a smile. "I'm still competitive. Right now, I feel like I want to go to another Olympics. I hate giving up. I'm a fighter at heart, so I just keep trudging along."
In other shooting competition Aug. 18, Team USA's Kimberly Rhode, 25, of El Monte, Calif., won the gold medal with 146 points in women's double trap. She retained her crown from the 2000 Sydney Games to become the first and last Olympic gold medalist in the event. She won the first women's double trap gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. The event is being discontinued after the Athens Games, part of an effort to trim the number of competitions.
Korea's Bo Na Lee won the double trap silver medal in a shoot-off against bronze medalist E Gao of China.
(Tim Hipps is assigned to the Army Community and Family Support Center Public Affairs Office.)