10 greatest Olympics shooters of all time

Does South Korea's Jin Jong-oh feature in our list? Read on to find out
Does South Korea's Jin Jong-oh feature in our list? Read on to find out

Shooting is an art that requires extreme levels of concentration, focus and stability. Not many people can boast of having all those three qualities, which is why it is so rare to find a single shooter dominating the sport for a long stretch of time.

Shooting, as a sport, has been a part of the Olympic Games since the advent of the latter. Live pigeons were used as the target in the first two games in 1896 and 1900, but were later replaced by clay targets from 1908 onwards.

Shooting did not feature at the 1904 and 1928 events, and when it was re-introduced in 1932, it only had two events. Gradually, however, the number of events have increased in number – the most being 17 events at the 2000 and 2004 Games.

Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the number of events has been fixed at 15 – the same will be the number at the Rio Olympics.

Here, we take a look at the 10 greatest shooters to have ever participated at the Games.


#10 Lyubov Galkina

Lyubov Galkina is one of the finest Olympic women shooters of all time
Lyubov Galkina is one of the finest Olympic women shooters of all time

The Russian shooter Lioubov Galkinawas was born on 15th March, 1973 and had a decorated career in shooting. She started her Olympic Games journey in 2004 when she won a gold medal and a silver medal. She won the gold medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions whereas she bagged the silver in the 10m air rifle event.

Also Read: Rio Olympics 2016: All you need to know about the 10m air rifle event

The rifle shooter also won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10m air rifle event. Apart from her Olympics career, the Russian has received accolades in all parts of the world as she has won 5 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 2 bronze medals in the ISSF events.

The shooter has also won 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 5 bronze medals at the European Championships. Her record in rifle shooting is one of the best in the world and it justifies her selection as one of the greatest shooters to have taken part at the Games.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 2

Olympic Games’ medals won: 2

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold2004 Athens50m rifle 3 positionsSilver2004 Athens10m air rifleSilver2008 Beijing10m air rifle

#9 Olena Kostevych

Olena Kostevych is one of the greatest female shooters of all time

Olena Kostevych features as the fourth most successful female Olympic shooter of all time in this list. The Ukrainian shooter was born on 14th, April 1985 and has been participating at various international shooting events since 1997. She is going to be one of the favorites to finish on the podium at the Rio Olympics in the 10m air pistol event.

The 31-year old has won a total of three Olympic medals in the three Olympic Games she has featured in. She won her gold medal in the 10m air pistol event at the 2004 Athens Olympics but has since failed to win it. She also has two bronze medals to her name which she won at the 2012 London Olympics in the 10m air pistol event and the 25m pistol event.

Apart from her Olympic achievements, the shooter has won a total of 12 gold medals, 8 silver medals and 5 bronze medals at the ISSF events.

Also Read: Rio Olympics 2016: All you need to know about the 10m air pistol event

One of her most remarkable achievements is winning the 10m air pistol event at the 2002 ISSF World Shooting Championships at the age of just 17. Her Ukrainian record of obtaining 394 points is one point higher than the current world record.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 3

Olympic Games’ medals won: 3

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold2004 Beijing10m air pistolBronze2012 London10m air pistolBronze2012 London25m pistol

#8 Guo Wenjun

Guo Wenjun holds the record of defending her Olympic 10m air pistol gold medal

Guo Wenjun features in this list as the third most successful female shooter at the Olympic Games. The Chinese shooter has been an inspiration to young budding shooters of this generation. Her consistency over the span of the two Olympic Games has been there for everyone to see.

She was born on June 22, 1984 and is one of the most successful shooters at the international level. She has won a total of 8 gold medals at all the ISSF events throughout her career. She has also bagged one silver and four bronze medals going into the Rio Olympic Games.

The pistol shooter won the gold medal in her home nation in 2008 in the 10m air pistol event. She successfully defended her medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Her credentials at the Rio Games are also filled with much promise. She could enhance her legacy if she manages to get a hat-trick of gold medals when she takes on her competitors in Brazil.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 2

Olympic Games’ medals won: 2

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold2008 Beijing10m air pistolGold2012 London10m air pistol

#7 Morris Fisher

Morris Fisher [Pic courtesy: USA Shooting]

Morris Fisher is the fifth most successful male Olympic shooter of all time. He was born on 4th May, 1890 and died on 23rd May, 1968. He was also a US Navy shooting instructor apart from being an Olympian. Fisher competed for the USA at the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games.

He won a total of five gold medals in the 300-800 metres rifle events. The American had to end his career with the 1924 Games as shooting was not part of the 1928 edition.

Fisher was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1913 and started competing when on duty. In addition to his Olympic medals, the shooter has also won six world titles and held five world records.

Fisher went on to win three gold medals in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, whereas he won two gold medals in 1924 Paris Games. In 2009, he was inducted into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 2

Olympic Games’ medals won: 5

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold1920 Antwerp300m free rifle, three positionsGold1920 AntwerpTeam free rifleGold1920 AntwerpTeam 300m military rifle, proneGold1924 Paris600 metre free rifleGold1924 ParisTeam free rifle

#6 Alfred Lane

Alfred Lane training New York police in 1914. [Pic courtesy: Wikipedia]

Alfred Lane is the fourth most successful male athlete of all time at the Olympic Games. He was an American sports shooter who had featured at the 1912 and 1920 Olympic Games.

The shooter was born on 26th September, 1891 and died in October 1965. He is remembered as a five-time Olympic Games Champion and is one of only five shooters to have won the gold medal in the same event twice.

The American shooter began his shooting at the Manhattan Rifle and Revolver Association where he started training with a pistol. Lane started dominating the United States Revolver Association (USRA) Championship matches at the age of just 19 and competed at the 1912 Olympics where he won three gold medals. The shooter continued to win the USRA Championships and held an impressive three-year win streak.

The shooter also went on to win two gold medals and one bronze medal at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. After having a successful career, Lane decided to work as the head of the photography department for a magazine publisher.

His medals are displayed in the National Rifle Associations National Firearms Museum in Virginia. The two-time Olympian was also inducted into the United States International Shooters Hall of Fame in 1991.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 2

Olympic Games’ medals won: 6

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold1912 Stockholm25 m rapid fire pistolGold1912 Stockholm50 m pistolGold1912 StockholmTeam 50 m military pistolGold1920 AntwerpTeam 30 m army pistolGold1920 AntwerpTeam 50 m military pistolBronze1920 Antwerp50 m pistol

#5 Maria Grozdeva (Bulgaria)

Maria Grozdeva defended her 25m pistol gold medal in 2004

Maria Grozdeva is a Bulgarian sports shooter who used to participate in the 25m pistol and 10m air pistol events. She features on this list as the second most successful female shooter of all time and was born on 23rd June, 1972.

Also Read: Rio Olympics 2016: All you need to know about the women's 25m pistol event

Maria has won five Olympic medals which consist of two gold medals and three bronze medals. She holds the record of being the only female shooter to have defended the 25m pistol gold medal at the Games. She won her first gold in the same event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The Bulgarian left no stone unturned in her bid to defend the medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She is also the current world record holder of the ISSF Finals in 25m pistol category.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 6

Olympic Games’ medals won: 5

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold2000 Sydney25m pistolGold2004 Athens25m pistolBronze1992 Barcelona10m air pistolBronze1996 Atlanta10m air pistolBronze2004 Athens10m air pistol

#4 Kimberly Rhode (USA)

Kimberly Rhode is the most successful female shooter at the Games

Kimberly Rhode is one of the present day famed shooters who will be present at the Rio Olympic Games. She is the most successful female shooter of all time at the Games. She was born on 16th July, 1979 and specializes in double trap and skeet events in shooting.

Rhode is a five-time winner of the Olympic medal, which includes three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal.

Also Read: Rio Olympics 2016: All you need to know about the Skeet event

She is the only female triple Olympic champion, and also the only woman in history to have won two Olympic gold medals in Double Trap. At her last Olympic appearance at London 2012, she won the skeet gold medal, equaling the world record of 99 out of 100 clays.

One interesting fact about the American shooter is that when she was in Peru for the Pan American Games, she fell and cracked open her head. But she still competed, after getting five staples in her head.

At Rio, the shooter will be in good health and the three-time Olympian will look to eclipse her historical statistics.

Olympic Games’ appearances: 3

Olympic Games’ medals won: 5

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold1996 AtlantaDouble TrapGold2004 AthensDouble TrapGold2012 LondonSkeetSilver2008 BeijingSkeetBronze2000 SydneyDouble Trap

#3 Ole Lilloe-Olsen (Norway)

Ole Lilloe-Olsen

Ole Lilloe-Olsen was a Norwegian rifle shooter who features as the third most successful shooter in the history of the Olympic Games. Lilloe-Olsen was born on 27th April, 1883 and died on 29th April, 1940; his achievements at the Games include a tally of six medals – making him Norway’s most successful Olympic athlete.

He started his career as a competitive shooter in 1913 and was blessed with instant success, winning a bronze medal in the Norwegain Championships in clay pigeon shooting. Later in 1918, Lilloe-Olsen was also victorious at the biggest rifle competition in Norway, “Landsskytterstevnet”, where he was crowned as the “Shooting King”.

However, it was the 1920 Olympics where he competed in running target, winning all three Olympic gold medals. He added two more medals to his tally four years later to become the most successful Norwegian Olympian ever.

In total, Lilloe-Olsen won five gold medals and one silver medal during his two Olympics. He managed to defend his gold medals in 100m running deer, double shots and team 100m running deer single shots from the 1920 Games. He won a silver medal in 100m running deer, double shots in the 1924 Paris Games.

The shooter continued his success in 1932, at the age of 49, and set a world record in clay pigeon shooting with 99 hits out of 100.

Olympic Games appearances: 2

Olympic Games medals won: 6

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold1920 Antwerp100 m running deer, double shotsGold1920 AntwerpTeam 100 m running deer, single shotsGold1920 AntwerpTeam 100 m running deer, double shotsGold1924 Paris100 m running deer, double shotsGold1924 ParisTeam 100 m running deer, single shotsSilver1924 ParisTeam 100 m running deer, double shots

#2 Willis Augustus Lee (USA)

The Vice Admiral of US Navy won 7 medals in his only Olympics

Willis Augustus Lee features as the second most successful Olympic shooter of all time. Lee was a Vice Admiral of the United States Navy during World War II; he was born on 11th May 1888 and died on 25th August 1945.

He is known for his commanding of the American ships during the World War II which led to victory for the Americans over the Japanese in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. However, the American was also a skilled shooter and won seven medals at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp.

Lee's record of winning five gold medals in a single Olympics was equalled by teammate Lloyd Spooner at the same Games. Lee had participated in a total of 14 events at the only Games he played in. His seven medals included five gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal.

Willis was a teammate of Carl Osburn in various team events at the Games. All the events that Lee participated in have been discontinued now.

Olympic Games appearances: 1

Olympic Games medals won: 7

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold1920 AntwerpTeam 50 m small bore rifleGold1920 AntwerpTeam 300 m army rifle, proneGold1920 AntwerpTeam 600 m free rifleGold1920 AntwerpTeam free rifle, 300 m + 600 mGold1920 AntwerpTeam free rifleSilver1920 AntwerpTeam 300 m army rifle, standingBronze1920 AntwerpTeam 100 m running deer, single shots

#1 Carl Osburn (USA)

Carl Osburn won a tally of 11 medals at the Games. [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

Carl Osburn is the greatest Olympic shooter ever with a tally of 11 medals. He was a United States Navy officer who was born on 5th May 1884, and died on 28th December, 1966. He is remembered greatly for his contribution to the shooting sport; the legendary shooter competed in three Olympic Games where he won a total of 11 medals for the USA.

Osburn is the most successful shooter at the Games when both individual and team medals are taken into consideration. He won a tally of five gold medals, four silver medals and two bronze medals in the three Games he competed in. His total of 11 medals made him the leading male medal winner for his country at the Games, but in 1972, Mark Spitz tied his record.

Later, Michael Phelps broke his record by winning a total of 22 medals.

However, it is to be noted that all the events that Osburn won medals in have been discontinued at the Games.

Olympic Games appearances: 3

Olympic Games medals won: 11

Medal detailsMedalOlympic GamesEventGold1912 StockholmTeam rifleGold1920 Antwerp300 m military rifle, standingGold1920 Antwerp300 m team military rifle, proneGold1920 Antwerp300 + 600 m team military rifle, proneGold1920 AntwerpTeam free rifleSilver1912 Stockholm600 m free rifleSilver1912 Stockholm300 m military rifle, three positionsSilver1920 Antwerp300 m team military rifle, standingSilver1924 Paris600 m free rifleBronze1912 Stockholm50 m team small-bore rifleBronze1920 Antwerp100 m team running deer, single shots

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Edited by Staff Editor
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