Will Shaner, 20 years old and ranked 24th nationally in rifle shooting, became the youngest American to win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and set an Olympic record with his score of 251.6 to beat China’s Lihao Sheng by one point.
At the age of 9, Shaner began shooting sports as part of a 4-H program in Rifle, Colorado. From there he progressed through monthly preliminary tryout (PTO) events until qualifying for major matches.
Shaner, 20 years old and studying mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky, became the youngest American to win an Olympic rifle event. He also holds the distinction of being both the second-youngest men’s 10-meter air rifle Olympic champion ever and holds a World Cup gold medal.
Shaner had a slow start to the final round, but soon found his groove and increased his scoring significantly. He became the first shooter to reach 10.5 or better in all four rounds.
He kept on winning after hitting a 10.5 on his sixth shot, followed by another 10.2 for an advantage of 1.5 points with three shots left. China’s 16-year-old Sheng Lihao, with little international experience, took silver while Yang Haoran earned bronze.
Team USA added another medal to its collection on Day 2, giving them an impressive total of eight medals on Day 2. After being shut out on the first day, the United States managed to pick up six medals in swimming on Day 2.
William Shaner, 20 years old, is the youngest male shooter to ever win an Olympic gold medal and only the second American to do so in a rifle event at the Games.
He has made a mark during his college career at Kentucky, leading them to back-to-back team titles. Additionally, he recently won an NCAA individual title in air rifle competition.
Shaner shot a 251.6 score to beat China’s Lihao Sheng (250.9) by 0.07 and earn his first Olympic gold medal. It was an intensely close contest, but Shaner’s precision proved enough for victory.
In the qualifying rounds, integers were used as the highest scores per shot; on the final stage, decimal tenths were included. This allowed ties to be broken by comparing decimal scores on a shot-by-shot basis.
On Sunday in Tokyo, Will Shaner of Colorado Springs and former 4-H member set an Olympic record of 251.6 points to claim gold for the United States with his second-day medal count.
Shaner was one of the top shooters in America as a youth. While at the University of Kentucky, he finished second at the NCAA individual championship and led his team to back-to-back team titles.
He has won numerous international competitions, such as the ISSF World Cup in Croatia earlier this year. At the 2021 National Junior Olympic Championships, he earned gold in smallbore rifle and silver in air rifle.
On Day 2 of the Tokyo Olympics, 20-year-old University of Kentucky shooter William Shaner claimed Gold in Men’s 10m Air Rifle with an Olympic Record score of 251.6 points – beating China’s 16-year-old Lihao Sheng by 261.6 points for an unprecedented achievement in this sport.
Shaner began shooting at age 9 as part of a 4-H program and soon after began competing in monthly preliminary tryouts to prepare him for national competition. Since then, he has earned multiple US National Junior titles, earned All-American status for both air rifle and smallbore shooting, and established himself as one of the top youth shooters in America.
He had been striving to win an Olympic medal in this event for some time, and finally achieved it! Despite experiencing nerves of steel, he held his own against two of the world’s top shooters to bring home gold for Team USA.