Szarenski Frustrated With 13th in Olympic Air Pistol
By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service
ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 16, 2004 Army Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski finished in a four-way tie for 13th place in the men's 10-meter air pistol event Aug. 14 at Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre here in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.
Szarenski, a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga., came within three points of reaching the final round of eight competitors.
"It didn't really go wrong at all, I just didn't have a high enough score," said Szarenski, 36, of Saginaw, Mich. "I finished and it was like, 'Well, it wasn't a smoker but nothing really went bad.'"
China's Yifu Wang won the gold medal with a final Olympic record of 690 points. Russia's Mikhail Nestruev, who set an Olympic qualifying record with 591 points, won the silver medal with 689.8 points. Russian Vladimir Isakov took the bronze medal with a 684.3 total.
The other American entry, Jason Turner of Rochester, N.Y., shot a score of 571 to finish in a tie for 36th place.
Szarenski shot well early in the match but he was off on just enough shots to finish with a qualifying score of 579 points. The cutoff for the final round was 582.
"I shot pretty much like I always do," he said. "There was some nervousness at the beginning, but nothing more than any other match. These are the same guys we shoot against in the World Cups and World Championships. It's not like I tried harder here than I would at a World Cup, it was just kind of a medium day and you needed a good day.
"If a couple 9.9s would've been 10.0s, look at how many points I would've picked up. To get into the medal round was well within reach. It just takes a little bit of luck sometimes, and it wasn't here today."
Szarenski gets another Olympic shot in 50-meter free pistol Aug. 17.
"I'm probably going to kick myself around today a little bit and get back into it tomorrow at 9 o'clock and start working," he said. "There's not any big thing I have to do. I really don't know anything that I can change, because it was right there."
Szarenski finished 25th in 50-meter free pistol in the 2000 Sydney Games. He said he feels fortunate to have another shot in Greece.
"I'll just see if I can get my game a little bit better," he said. "I've still got another day, so it's not over yet. My only desire is to win a medal. That's the only reason I came here. I have plenty of time to regroup; I'll be all right."
Bennington, Neb., native Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret Erickson of the Army Marksmanship Unit was tied for second place with USA's Lance Bade after the qualifying match in men's trap. But he dropped three key targets in his first round to finish in 13th place with a 118. He's looking to the double trap event as his second chance.
USA's Lance Bade of Vancouver, Wash., was tied for with Erickson for second place after the qualifying match in men's trap, but fell to fifth in the finals and missed the medal stand by two targets.
(Tim Hipps is assigned to U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center Public Affairs.)