MUNICH – Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) earned a USA Shooting Olympic Team bid in the Men’s 50m Prone Rifle with his gold medal performance at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final held in Munich, Germany, on Thursday, Sept. 2.
McPhail won the event with a score of 208.5 to lock up a nomination for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The 2012 Olympic participant went into the World Cup Final battling three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons for the right to earn an Olympic Team bid.
McPhail, who already had two victories under his belt in World Cup competition this season, held a four-point lead over Emmons heading into the competition. USA Shooting athletes can earn an automatic Olympic nomination by earning the most points in their discipline based on World Cup finishes in 2015, but if the total is above the required point threshold and both Olympic quotas have been secured.
Each shooter went to Munich with the bid in their sights. McPhail need to finish high than Emmons or hope that Emmons didn’t medal at all to secure the bid, while Emmons needed to finish second or high and hope the McPhail didn’t medal in order to overtake him. If Emmons won silver and McPhail won bronze, they would have tied on points and been forced to go head-to-head against one another in a shoot-off later this year.
McPhail hadn’t had a lot of success at the Munich range prior to Thursday’s competition, earning just a bronze medal in eight opportunities there, while Emmons had previously earned five of his 39 World Cup medals at the range.
Emmons took the top qualifier score into the finals on Thursday with McPhail right on his heels in second. However, McPhail shot a 208.5 in the finals to leap into first-place, while Emmons wound up finishing seventh overall. The Browns Mills, NJ native will have chance to earn an Olympic bid in the 3-Position Rifle competition later in the week.
The gold medal was the first for McPhail in four World Cup Final appearances, joining his second, fourth and seventh place finishes from the previous competitions.
McPhail trailed Russia’s Kirill Grigoryan by 0.3 heading into the final two shots and was still down 0.1 going into the last shot where to scored a 10.6 to Grigoryan’s 9.5 to win the event by a full point.
Grigoryan won the silver with a score of 207.5 and Croatia’s Bojan Durkovic won bronze with a 186.5.
Rio de Janeiro will be the host city of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in August of 2016.