COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 2, 2019)
Podium performances and earning Olympic quotas has become infectious in Lima, Peru for America’s Shooting Team. Grit and determination has allowed the USA Shooting Team to earn 17 medals and six Olympic quotas with one day remaining of shooting competition at the 2019 Pan American Games.
Nowhere has that been more evident than in Friday’s performance of Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia)in securing an Olympic quota and earning the gold medal in the Men’s Air Rifle event.
His trip to Lima got off to a bad start as he was forced to arrive a day later than he intended to because of weather and flight cancellations. Before he got on his flight Tuesday, he was having stomach issues and pain he couldn’t identify. He arrived into Lima, but his luggage and gun did not. The stomach pain persisted, and he sought out sports medicine assistance from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee personnel. By Wednesday night, he was taken to the local hospital in Lima fearing that he might have an appendicitis. Thankfully, they discovered it was a kidney infection and treated it accordingly about the same time that his luggage and gear arrived into the country.
By this morning’s competition, Kozeniesky stated that there was still some pain but that he was able to work through it. He qualified fourth with a score of 622.1. Once in the Final, he was focused and determined, never relinquishing the lead. A 9.7 on shot 20 of 24 allowed Mexico’s Edson Ramirez to tie the Finals match. His average on the last four shots was 10.375 on a 10.9 scale to Ramirez’s 10.175 that included a perfect shot of 10.9 on his second to last shot to secure the win and quota