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One to watch: Matt Emmons

Shooter looks to add to unparalleled success that started in college

Matt Emmons
School:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Sport: Shooting

At 35, Emmons is the most decorated shooter on Team USA. Rio marks his fourth trip to the Olympics, and he will seek his fourth Olympic medal. Emmons helped the University of Alaska Fairbanks win four consecutive NCAA national championships between 2000 and 2003 (part of a streak of six straight titles for the school) and finished his career as the most decorated shooter in NCAA rifle championships history. Emmons’ outstanding collegiate athletic career continued into international competition: He won gold in the 50-meter rifle prone in Athens in 2004, silver in the event in Beijing four years later, and bronze in London in 2012. And during the 2004 Olympics, Emmons met his future wife, 2008 Czech Olympic champion Katerina Kurkova, whom he married in 2007. Earlier this year, Emmons set a world record at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Munich by firing a 464.1 in the 50-meter rifle three positions men's final.

When to watch: The men's 50-meter rifle three positions qualifications start on Sunday at 8 a.m. Eastern time; the final will start at noon Eastern time.

Why we're cheering: Emmons, a New Jersey native, was introduced to competitive shooting by an FBI firearms instructor who invited him to try the sport in high school. Emmons quickly became enamored with the sport and realized this newfound passion could provide an opportunity to earn a college scholarship. It was effective motivation: Emmons set a junior world record in the 50-meter rifle three positions as a 16-year-old, making him one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation. In 2000, Emmons was offered his scholarship from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and made the most of the opportunity, graduating with an accounting degree, then starting work on his Master of Business Administration at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, one day after returning from the Athens games.

Others to watch today:

Abby Johnston (diving, 3-meter, USA): As the only female diver returning to Team USA from the 2012 Olympics, where she won a silver medal, Johnston has a lot to live up to in Rio. However, she is not new to competing under pressure and dominating. In 2009, she was the first diver from Duke University to qualify for the NCAA championship, and two years later she became Duke's first national champion in women’s diving.

Andy Bisek (wrestling, Greco-Roman 75 kilogram, USA): Throughout his high school wrestling career, Bisek had only wrestled folkstyle. The summer before attending college, Bisek was introduced to Greco-Roman wrestling and found his true calling. He continued wrestling at Northern Michigan University, where he was the University Nationals champion in 2007.

Shalane Flanagan (marathon, USA): The 2016 Olympics will be Flanagan's fourth Olympic Games. A 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the women's 10,000-meter race, Flanagan won two Division I cross country championships (2002, 2003) and the 2003 NCAA 3,000-meter indoor championship while competing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.