With two disastrous final shots in the previous Olympic Games and the thyroid cancer to fight for, Matthew Emmons was a man of story.
When the 31-year-old rifle genius showed up in the training venue for men’s 10m air rifle event on Thursday, he caught all the attention from the media and the spectators.
“In 2010, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I had surgery to remove my thyroid, but now I feel good. Now I just have to take the thyroid hormone every day because I have no thyroid. But I feel fine, everything’s good,” said Emmons.
“Actually it was his best ever,” said the spokeswoman of the U.S. team. “He won three gold medals at the shooting World Cup that season, but he had to stop.” Emmons underwent a surgery in New York, and refused to give up his dream on shooting. He came back to his training schedule, shooting down a silver medal in the Sydney World Cup in 2011, and another silver in the London World Cup in 2012.
“I just hope that we can walk away from London saying that we competed the best we could. If that results in some medals, great, that’s awesome,” said Emmons.
“Sport is very important to me, of course, but it’s not everything.” Emmons’ Czech wife Katerina was the winner of the first gold of the Beijing Olympics. The couple had collected five Olympic medals at their previous two Games.
“As a family we have five Olympic medals, that’s awesome. If we can have some more that would be great, too. I hope we can get some but, really, I think we’re both happy if we just compete well,” said Emmons.
Emmons was one of the unluckiest shooters in the Olympics, as he misfired the final shot in the 2004 Olympic Games and prematurely hit the trigger for the final shot in the 2008 Games, twice losing the gold.
“I’m getting older. I look at things different now than I used to. I said in 2004 and also in 2008 that I’m learning so much every time these things happen, every Olympics, every competition. I’m a much smarter guy than I was,” he said.