• name: Matt EMMONS
  • year of birth: 1981
  • nationality: American
  • birthplace: Brown Mills, New Jersey
  • discipline(s): AR60,FR3X40,FR60PR
  • pb: 1188 in 3P, 630.4 in Prone. Shot 600 in whole points 10 times in competition. 2004 Olympic Gold medallist
  • coach: Self-coached
  • shoots with: Bleiker Challenger rifle in a Bleiker metallic stock, Lilja barrel, Centra sights and irises


Matt’s shooting career has had many twists and turns. In the 2004 Olympics he had to shoot his Prone match with a teammate’s rifle after finding out his own had been sabotaged. For most this would have been a disaster but Matt went on to win the Gold. He later made the final for 3P and looked like he would win double Gold, but a cross-shot caused him to miss out on a medal altogether. It was at this moment he met Katerina (Katy) Kurkova when she came over to console him; they married in 2007 and now have two children. As Matt says “things happen for a reason”.

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing Matt won Silver in Prone and was determined to win a medal in 3P having come second in qualification. Again it looked like the Gold was his and it came down to the last shot to secure the medal, but with all the nerves and excitement Matt fired too early scoring 4.4 and 4th place. The audience and fellow competitors were expecting a display of anger and frustration when a reporter forced a microphone in front of him and asked ‘what went wrong?’ Matt just smiled and said ‘well this will be a great story to tell my kids!’.

At the London 2012 Olympics Matt was back and in the final for 3P. The ELEY team sat with supporters of USA Shooting and watched with bated breath. Once again it came down to the final shot and after 12 long years of preparation he won the Bronze for Team USA.

Today, Matt is an Olympic champion focused not only on bettering his performance in the Rio Olympics but on living his life to the fullest. When he isn’t teaching his two kids new sports he’s camping, hiking, golfing, fishing or cross country skiing in his native Alaska.

60 seconds with Matt

tell us an interesting fact about yourself

I raced motocross when I was younger, have run two marathons and competed in the Vasaloppet (Swedish cross-country skiing marathon). I was also a baseball player for a long time before I was a shooter.

what qualifications do you hold?

BBA in accounting from the University of Alaska Fairbanks; MBA from the University of Colorado.

what is your proudest moment?

Marrying my wife and the births of my two kids. Winning my Bronze in 2012 was pretty cool, too!

what training tips can you offer?

Don’t ever forget the basics! The rifle discipline can be so technical, but many times people forget the basics of shooting and the mental game. Learn as much as you can about the sport. The more you understand, the better you will be.

do you have a favourite motto or saying?

I have a ton of them but a good one is ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way.’

what is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Always be optimistic and opportunistic. You never know when a great opportunity is going to fall in your lap and you have to be smart enough to take advantage of it.