GUADALAJARA – Darlington native Michael McPhail battled strong winds and tough competition to bring home the gold medal in the men’s 50-meter rifle prone shooting event at the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from Oct. 14-23.
McPhail, a Staff Sergeant with the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) based out of Fort Benning, Ga., went into the finals in the lead with 591 match points and he weathered strong winds during the finals to lock up the gold medal for the USA Rifle Team.
“It was a very challenging match because of the wind—it changed directions often and was unpredictable, but it made me focus and set my sights on the gold,” McPhail told USA Shooting.com.
McPhail fired 102.2 points in the finals for 693.2 total points and the gold medal.
USA teammate and fellow USAMU member Jason Parker of Columbus, Ga., moved up from fifth-place to third in the final round, registering a top score of 102.8 in the final to capture the bronze medal in the event with a total score of 690.8.
The silver medalist was Misael Suligoy of Argentina with 590 match points and 101.5 points in the final for 691.5 total points.
Parker went on to win the gold in the men’s 50-meter three-position competition later in the week.
The Pan Am Games are held every four years prior to the Summer Olympic Games and feature competition in a variety of sports between athletes from the nations of the Americas.
The USA dominated the Pan Am Games, winning the most gold medals (10) and overall medals (18) over the 10-day event.
McPhail, the son of Dennis and Joyce McPhail of Darlington, lives in Phoenix City, Ala., with his wife, Kari, who is a graduate of Black Hawk High School.