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Jon Hammond – Olympian and West Virginia University Rifle Coach (Part 1 of 3)

By Admin | January 1, 2009

Jon Hammond competed in the 2008 Bejing Summer Olympics as a member of the British Olympic team. He is also in his third year of coaching the West Virginia University Mountaineer Rifle team. We recently met with him to discuss his experiences.

Where are you from?

Aberdeen, Scotland.

Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?

I went to University of Leeds in England and I did a bachelors in earth sciences and geography and then I came over here and did a master’s at WVU in sports management.

How long did it take you to do that?

Essentially I was in school here for two years, but it is a one or two year program. Actually the very first year I was here competing on the rifle team I did athletic coaching and then it was the second year that I moved onto sport management. Some of the classes I did the first year transferred to the second year. So, basically two years.

Were you recruited to come shoot at WVU?

Pretty much. I started the process back home. I started sending emails to different coaches and started the recruiting process. Essentially I came here for the rifle team., but obviously I didn’t want to waste two years and not come away with something.

I found the Sport management program and it was something that interested me as well. So it was nice to get that out of it as well.

Tell me how you got started in rifle in Scotland. Isn’t the UK supposed to be a non gun country?

Guns are not the most popular but the only thing that are actually banned are handguns of 22 caliber and above. So, shotguns are all legal, rifles are legal, and pistols which are air pistols are legal.

So, in terms of the shooting sports and all the Olympic sports they are all perfectly legal. You do have to hold licenses and be members of gun clubs, so there is strict control over it. But, there are still gun clubs everywhere.

How old were you when you start shooting?

I started when I was nine years old. I started at a small school I went to, a small boarding school in Scotland. The teacher was really keen (on it) and everybody in the school tried it at one point or another and I just got into it from there.

Does anybody in your family shoot?

Not really. After a couple of years and when I joined a local club in Aberdeen my dad picked it up and he has been shooting at the club ever since.

But you shot before your dad?

Yes, we lived in the country but there was no shooting back then.

Did you hunt when you were growing up?

No, not really.

Have you ever hunted?

A couple of times. I have been in West Virginia for six years now. I have gone out with people a couple of times that have gone hunting.

But for me, shooting is very much a sport. I see it as a sport that I do, as a hobby, but I am not gun crazy. I am not desperate to go shoot all different types of guns and go hunting.

How many guns do you have in your house?

None.

Do you own a handgun?

No.

Have you ever owned a handgun?

No.

In the specialty of rifle shooting there are different categories. Which type of rifle did you shoot in the Olympics?

I actually did all three of the rifle events.

Which are what?

The air rifle match and then there are two matches in small bore. One is the prone match and then the other is the three position match.

Is it typical for competitors to shoot in all three?

Somewhat.

Topics: Athletes, Athletic Coaches, Olympians | Comments Off

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