Matt Emmons helped lead the Alaska Nanooks rifle team to multiple national championships, then went on to earn three medals for the U.S. in the first three of his four consecutive Olympic appearances.
Emmons started shooting in high school in New Jersey, at the suggestion of an FBI firearms instructor. After he arrived at UAF, the team won four consecutive NCAA National Championships from 2000 to 2003.
Emmons’ subsequent Olympics competitions were notable not only for his medals but also for some remarkable drama and challenges.
In the 2004 50-meter prone event, he had to borrow a gun from former Alaska Nanooks shooter Amber Jordan because someone had sabotaged his own. He won gold with it. In 2008 in Beijing, he won the silver medal in the 50-meter prone position. In 2010, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but he went on to compete and win a bronze in the 50-meter prone position at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Emmons finished 19th in the 50-meter three-position rifle event at 2016 Olympics. He had the best standing position score — a perfect 400 — of any athlete in the qualification round. Slightly less stellar scores in the prone and kneeling positions dropped his total and kept him out of the final.
He continues to compete at the top level internationally. In May 2018, he won the 50m prone Grand Prix at the International Shooting Sports Federation’s Munich World Cup. He did not medal in the 2018 ISSF World Shooting Championships in Korea in September.
Emmons is married to Katerina Kurkova, also a three-time Olympic medalist in riflery. They and their children live in the Czech Republic, her home country.
More online about Matt Emmons:
His profile at the USA Shooting Team website
An Aug. 4, 2016, Anchorage Daily News article previewing his participation in the 2016 Olympics
A May 25, 2016, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article about his world record set at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Munich
A 2016 Alaska Nanooks news release noting his fourth consecutive participation in the Olympics