Hancock, English Give Americans A Skeet Sweep at Tokyo Games

Αssociated Press

Amber English, of the United States, celebrates taking the gold medal in the women's skeet at the Asaka Shooting Range in the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 26, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

TOKYO  — Vincent Hancock gave the United States a sweep at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday after becoming the first skeet shooter to win three gold medals.

Amber English won the women’s event, knocking off reigning champion Diana Bacosi of Italy to bounce back after just missing the U.S. team for the 2012 and 2016 Games.

Hancock won his third gold about an hour later at Asaka Shooting Range, setting an Olympic record by hitting 59 of 60 targets to beat Jesper Hanen of Denmark by four.

Hancock captured gold in 2008 and 2012 but had a disappointing finish at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The 38-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, hit his first 26 targets in the Tokyo final and closed with 34 straight.

Abdullah Al-Rashidi of Kuwait won his second straight bronze after competing at the Rio Games as an Independent Olympic Athlete.

English, ranked No. 24 in the world, hit 56 of 60 targets to bounce back from just missing the U.S. team for the 2012 and 2016 Games.

Bacosi matched English by hitting 47 of 50 shots to reach the final, where she missed on her third attempt and a chance to repeat as Olympic champion.

Wei Meng of China took bronze after tying a world record in qualifying.

The women's final included four of the world’s top six skeet shooters: Bacosi, Wei, Nadine Messerschmidt of Germany and Russian Natalia Vinogradova.

Top-ranked Amber Hill of Britain did not make the trip to Tokyo after testing positive for COVID-19 just before leaving.

Wei hit 124 of 125 targets in qualifying to tie the world record, but she missed two of her first 14 shots in the final to fall behind Bacosi and English. Wei hit 46 of 50 overall five years after finishing fourth in Rio.

English, who is working toward become an Army officer at Fort Benning, Georgia, comes from a shooting family.

Her father, Michael, won four world championship bronze medals in 10-meter running target from 1982-87. Her uncle also competed in international running target events, and her mother and aunt were national-level rifle shooters.

English has been one of the world’s best shooters despite coming up short in qualifying for the past two Olympics.

The 38-year-old finished third at the 2018 world championship and climbed to the top of the ISSF world rankings with seven top-10 finishes the past three years.

English went shot for shot with Bacosi, overcoming a steady breeze to hit 47 of her first 50 targets. She was perfect after reaching the final two with Bacosi, hitting all 10 targets to earn gold in her first Olympics.

Hancock has been the world’s best skeet shooter, winning two Olympic golds, four world championships and six World Cup events. He also was the first American skeet shooter to complete a perfect World Cup event, hitting every target at a 2015 competition in Mexico.

Hancock was not in the right frame of mind at the Rio Games and it cost him in a 15th-place finish.

He qualified third in Tokyo and was atop the leaderboard most of a steamy afternoon. Hancock moved ahead when Hansen missed two of three shots in one late stretch and Hancock pumped his fist after hitting the last target, raising his arms as the limited crowd started a chant of “USA!”