Another Kentucky Wildcat is bringing home an Olympic medal. Mary Tucker and her Team USA shooting partner Lucas Kozeniesky won silver today in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team in Tokyo. Fellow UK star Will Shaner, who won gold in the men’s air rifle on Saturday, placed sixth with his teammate Alison Marie Weisz.
Tucker, a rising junior at UK, and Kozeniesky finished seventh in the first stage of qualifying to make the top eight in the second stage. From there, they advanced to the gold medal match by a 0.5 margin. In the gold medal match, Tucker and Kozeniesky faced Yang Qian and Yang Haoran from China, and the Chinese team came out on top 17-13. Shaner/Weisz finished fifth in stage one to advance to stage two, where they placed sixth overall, just missing out on the bronze medal match.
This is Mary Tucker’s first Olympic medal. She finished sixth overall in the women’s air rifle final on day one of the games, and will get another chance at gold in the women’s three-position smallbore on July 31. She is the only UK athlete to qualify for the Olympics in both air rifle and smallbore and won gold in smallbore and finished fifth in air rifle at the USA Shooting Junior Olympic Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in May. Earlier in the year, Tucker led Kentucky to its third national championship, posting the highest ever team score in the modern format. She’s been named National Athlete of the Year by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association twice and is a first-team All-America honoree in all three disciplines each of the last two seasons.
Tucker also has a sweet tooth and eats candy right before she competes, which is apparently a no-no in the shooting world. For more, check out this profile by the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton.