Eatonton's Olympian Shines in London | News
What happens when you win a gold medal at age eighteen?
"Once I accomplished my ultimate goal, I really didn't know where to go after that," says US Army Sgt. Vincent Hancock.
Hancock grew up in Eatonton with a family that loved sports. Around age 10 he made the transition from baseball and other, more popular activities, to competitive shooting.
By age 11 he was hooked and started making a name for himself on the range.
He won the skeet shooting gold medal in Beijing and feels it might take perfection to repeat in London. Perfection would be 150 of 150 clay targets four inches in diameter, from a distance of 65 to 67 meters, fired out of "houses" from both low and high angles.
"There have been tons of perfect scores shot recently, the world is just getting better," he says. "That's why my scores over the past eight months have been higher than they ever have before. It inspires me to improve."
After this year's first day of qualifying Monday, Hancock hit 74 of 75 targets to lead the field by two targets in men's skeet at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
"Today was a really good day," said Hancock. "I went out there expecting to shoot 75 targets but I fell a bit short and missed a target. The weather conditions were great, the range is great, the targets look amazing. I'm just going out there to do my best and shoot 75 tomorrow."
USA Teammate Frank Thompson is in a six-way tie for third with 71 targets. Qualification continues Tuesday at the Royal Artillery Barrack, with the finals later in the day.
Hancock is part of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit headquartered at Fort Benning. The unit was formed in 1956 by President Eisenhower. It has represented America in every summer games since 1960.