In this installment of female Olympic shooters’ profiles, we talk with the 2012 Olympic Games’ Gold Medalist in 3-Position Rifle, Jamie Gray.
Britney: How old were you when you first started shooting and who introduced you to the sport?
Jamie: I started shooting in my parents’ basement when my brother joined a competitive BB Gun program. You can only start the program at age 8, so I had to shoot in the basement for a couple of years before I officially started BB Gun with Myerstown Rod & Gun. I shot Daisy competitive BB Gun until the age limit of 15. At about 14, I started International Rifle with the Palmyra Sportsman’s Club junior rifle team. My dad was the one who got my brother and I interested in shooting. I also played softball, soccer, and basketball growing up.
Britney: Who inspires you as an athlete?
Jamie: The first person that I was inspired by was my brother. He is the one I was always striving to beat when I was young, both in BB Gun and rifle. Lones Wigger is one of the most inspiring rifle shooters I have looked up to. Of course, my parents are definitely an inspiration and I couldn’t have grown the way I did without their support.
As far as athletes in general, my favorite athlete is Chipper Jones, and has been since I can remember. I am a huge sports fan so I enjoy hearing all different sports stories and inspiring sports quotes. I follow @Sports_HQ on Twitter, which is sports motivation quotes and they are definitely inspiring.
Britney: Tell us a little bit about that and what your life is like when you aren’t shooting.
Jamie: Besides shooting, I enjoy cycling, running, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, indoor rock climbing, hiking, camping, hunting, golf, soccer and watching any sport I can. I love being outdoors and staying active. I have a very short attention span, so I constantly have to be doing something.
Britney: What is your favorite item in your range bag or something you couldn’t live without during competitions?
Jamie: I think this varies depending on my mood, but I would have to say my winter gear (winter hat, gloves, hand and toe warmers, neck gaiter and long underwear). I never go anywhere without my winter gear, just in case, and there are many times that those winter items came in handy.
Britney: What is your training schedule like?
Jamie: Right now I am rehabbing a back injury, so my training schedule is non-existent except for rehab. I will try to shoot again in August, and get back into shooting shape. On a typical training schedule, I would shoot 5-6 days a week, 3-5 hours a day, depending on what I am working on and what part of the season I am in. I also do physical training and mental training outside of that. My mental training consists of doing mindfulness meditation, progressive relaxation and a lot of visualization. Shooting is a full time job for me.
Britney: Do you live in the training center? If so, what is that like?
Jamie: I am not a resident athlete anymore, but I was for 4 years. The training center has a lot to offer as far as resources go. You have access to the weight room, sports medicine, the recovery center, sport nutrition, sport psychology and a great cafeteria. Also everyone there is training to be the best, and it is neat to be in that atmosphere.
Britney: Do you do anything to get yourself pumped up before competition or “pre-game rituals”?
Jamie: I don’t do anything crazy. I write a match plan, and on my way to the range I normally put my headphones on and read my match plan. As I am setting up my equipment, I normally listen to music and then read my match plan again before I start shooting. I also try to meet with my sport psychologist the day before my match and talk about my plan. I also talk to my coach just before the match as a last-minute encouragement.
Britney: How are your competition rifles different from every-day rifles?
Jamie: They are very adjustable and accurate. In Smallbore we are trying to hit a 10 ring roughly the size of a dime at 50 meters, so the gun has to shoot really well. The air rifles shoot a pellet-size group. We adjust the gun to fit our body and there are tons of adjustments; you could play all day long.
Britney: You won Gold in the 2012 Olympic Games for 3-Position Rifle. Tell us a little about what 3-Position is, please.
Jamie: 3-Position is shot with a .22-caliber rifle at 50 meters outdoors from prone, standing and kneeling. Women shoot 20 shots in each position in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Each shot is worth up to 10 points; therefore, a 600 is the best score in qualification. The top 8 competitors in qualification move onto a final round and shoot 10 shots from the standing position. The final shots are scored in tenths of points, so the best shot is a 10.9. The qualification score and the final score is added together to determine the winner.
To learn more about Jamie Gray and the rest of the USA Shooting Team, visit USA Shooting.