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Back problems plague Olympic target shooter
Olympics » In his third Olympics, problems continue to haunt Colorado Springs resident.
First Published Jul 30 2012 12:06 pm • Last Updated Jul 31 2012 09:05 am

London • One of the Olympic Games’ most tragic figures in recent years was in more pain in this, his third Olympics. Only this time Matt Emmons’ agony wasn’t in his heart.

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It was in his back.

Emmons, whose loss of gold medals on his last shots in the past two Olympics drew sympathy from around the world, could not overcome a faulty back in the 10-meter air rifle competition here Monday.

The Colorado Springs resident got off to a slow start and finished 35th in the prelims. "My back hurts, man," Emmons said. "I haven’t been able to figure out, especially in air rifle, what I’m doing wrong in my position that’s causing it to hurt so much."

For perspective, air rifle isn’t Emmons’ specialty. He wasn’t expected to medal. But the back problem that has plagued him the past few months has not gone away.


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And his best event, the 50-meter rifle 3 position, is next Monday.

After the competition, Emmons walked up to his wife, Katy, who shoots for the Czech Republic. She lightly put her hand on his. She knows what he’s going through.

"Katy was watching me and she said my body was just swaying back and forth," Emmons said. "I could see that in my hold. Like when I’m looking through my sights, it’ll come down and settle down on the bull(‘s eye) then move to the right or the left and then back and then hold. It’s just not consistent."

He shot 97 out of 100 in his first of six series of a competition won by Romania’s Alin George Moldoveanu, who missed a medal in Beijing four years ago by .08 of an inch.

Emmons has been as diligent about working on his back as he has on his shot. He has worked with the sports staff from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and in London. He’s used cardio physiologists, chiropractors and the sports medical staff in the Olympic Village.

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