Once settled in Korea and beginning preparations for training session for sport pistol, I began to observe my competitors. There were all levels of athletes there: younger, older, beginners, and plenty of very experienced shooters. One athlete that I began to watch carefully was one of China’s team members, Yuemei Lin. She came with her game face on and ready to go, and so did her personal coach. There were many teams with coaches helping each of the team members, but this coach was assigned to Yuemei, and Yuemei alone. Her coach had multiple books filled with notes, sketches of targets, and score after score after score. Every shot Yuemei would take, her coach would note it on a target, write down the points, and make a few other notes on what I’m assuming was position, behavior, and suggestions. Anytime Yuemei would shoot less than a 9.5, her coach would have her step off the line and give her advice. She would then relax for a little and then step to the line again. This occurred rarely though, because Yuemei was skilled. She took third in women’s sport pistol with the score 588/600, a score worthy of the Olympics. She also took ninth in air pistol with a 380/400. She was so disciplined when she was on the line, and remained calm and composed throughout the competition. At one point, the entire US pistol team was staring at her, watching for a flinch or a tick, waiting for a facial expression from her giving away how she felt. After watching for awhile, I picked up that she got excited occasionally, and when she did, her tell was her left hand twitching a little bit. That was all that I could see. I’m sure there was more, but they must have been very small and insignificant. While I’m noting how amazing she was, I would like to really acknowledge the coach. Her coach was so dedicated to watching her and helping her progress.
Another competitor I would like to note was Kelsey Bjorkman from Canada. Shooters from Canada are fun and happy, and I love chatting with them at competitions. Kelsey was assigned to the firing point next to me on the line for air pistol. She had a rough competition, but afterwards remained happy and excited to have participated in this once in a lifetime opportunity. She was so optimistic. It was refreshing to see a competitor be friendly and positive after not doing well. She was, like many shooters, friendly.
There were many other great shooters, coaches, and volunteers that were notable, but Kelsey and Yeumei really stood out. I hope I can make impressions like that on people in the future.
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