American shooting star
A leading sport shooter, Matthew Emmons has experienced the joys of collecting every sort of medal over three Olympic Games. His Czech wife, Kateřina, whom he met at Athens 2004, boasts a similar record.
Joy in the juniors Born in Mount Holly Township in New Jersey (USA), Matthew Emmons first tried his hand at shooting while at high school, developing a passion for the sport and settling on the rifle as his preferred firearm. In 1997, aged 16, he took to the international stage, where he beat the junior world record in the 50 metre rifle three positions event. Emmons subsequently earned a place on the US shooting team, distinguishing himself at the 2002 World Championships in Lahti (FIN), where he triumphed in the 50m rifle prone.
Double delight in AthensOn 20 August 2004, during the Olympic Games in Athens, a 23-year-old Emmons put in a dominant display in the 50m rifle prone, finishing top of the qualification round and then securing the gold medal with a score of 703.3, one point better off than Germany’s Christian Lusch (702.2) and Belarus’ Sergei Martynov (701.6). The American shooter was on course to claim a second gold two days later but, despite appearing to have victory within his grasp, he cross-fired his final shot in the 50m rifle three positions and dropped out of the podium placings. No medal, but there was a silver lining. Directly afterwards, he made the acquaintance of Czech shooter Kateřina Kůrková, who had won a bronze in the women’s 10 metre air rifle competition earlier in the week. The pair hit it off instantly, and got married in Plzeň (CZE) on 30 June 2007.
Silver lining in Beijing While Kateřina Emmons earned the very first gold medal of Beijing 2008, equalling the 10m air rifle world record by scoring a maximum of 400 in the qualifying round on the morning of Saturday 9 August, before winning silver in the 50m rifle three positions, her husband registered a second place finish in the prone competition. But history was to repeat itself in the three positions event, as he missed his final shot and eventually ended up fourth. This setback did not prevent the couple from proudly posing with their medals in front of the press at the end of the Games.
Redemption in London After Kateřina gave birth to their daughter, Julia, in 2009, the Emmons had medals back in their sights at London 2012. Matthew made up for his successive disappointments in the 50m three positions by emerging with a bronze – his third different medal in as many Games – from an exciting final at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Kateřina, meanwhile, finished fourth in the 10m air rifle, narrowly missing out on a bronze of her own. In total, Mr and Mrs Emmons now possess no fewer than six Olympic medals between them.