Matthew Emmons, a shooter who may be better known for the Olympic gold medals he didn’t win rather than the one he did, has retired after four Olympics at age 38.
“Why retire a year before the next Olympics? Simply put, it’s time,” was posted on his Instagram. “Sure, there’s logic to it, but it’s also a feeling. It’s time to move on to other things, to exercise other talents and grow as a person.”
Emmons decided to retire in March, according to the post.
At Athens 2004, Emmons won the smallbore rifle, prone position title, using a borrowed gun after his was sabotaged. Two days later, he led the smallbore rifle, three positions final. But on the last shot, he misfired at another competitor’s target. Emmons blew a three-point lead, dropped to eighth and handed unknown Chinese Jia Zhanbo the title.
At the 2008 Beijing Games in the same event, Emmons had such a lead that he could have scored a 6.7 out of 10.9 on the last shot and still won. As he set up for the shot, his finger twitched and hit the trigger. He scored 4.4 and dropped to fourth place.
“Life’s too short to dwell upon the negative,” Emmons said then. “There’s nothing I can change about the past. I can only move forward.”
Emmons finished his career with an Olympic medal of every color, earned at back-to-back-to-back Games.
He overcame thyroid cancer, diagnosed in August 2010, to make the 2012 Olympic team and earn a bronze in the three positions event.
In 2007, he married Czech Olympic shooter Katerina Kurkova.
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View this post on Instagram
The time has come to announce my retirement from sport shooting as an athlete. I actually decided in March, but only now was I able to get my family together and do it the way I wanted. The picture here not only shows all of my international medals, but more importantly, my family. These are the people who helped make it happen. Thanks mom and dad for, well, everything! I can never thank you enough for your guidance, encouragement, teaching me good morals and habits, support, and love. I hope I can be half the parent to my kids as you were to me. My wife, Katy, and my children – for always believing in me, encouraging me, and certainly giving me some good advice along the way. I also must thank a ton of other people. Shooting is mainly an individual sport, but success does not come alone. I may miss some people, but here’s the short list: my coaches: Paul Adamowski, Ed Shea, Randy Pitney, Dave Johnson, and Dan Durben. All of them helped shape me as an athlete and person. Thank you! My teammates and competitors. It was fun and you all helped make it that way. My sponsors: Anschutz, Bleiker, Pardini, Walther, Eley, RWS, Champion, AHG, Kustermann, Hitex, Shaklee, Salon Samui, among others. USA Shooting and the USOPC. Without those two organizations, none of this would have happened. The University Of Alaska Fairbanks. Drs. Hana Grégrová, Yuman Fong, and Ashok Shaha – these three saved my life and helped me get back to competing when I had thyroid cancer. Heather Linden and the staff at Sports Med in Colorado Springs – they put me back together after some serious physical issues before and after London. Because of them, my career not only continued, but got even better. Per Sandberg – my best friend. You’ve always been there in every situation and you’ve had such a positive impact on my life. The world needs more people like you. Lastly, thanks to all the fans out there! So why retire a year before the next Olympics? Simply put, it’s time. Sure, there’s logic to it, but it’s also a feeling. It’s time to move on to other things, to exercise other talents and grow as a person. I’m ready and excited for it. I had a great run. I shot for 23 years, 22 of which were