UK's Tucker and Shaner named Athletes of the Week

Published: Feb. 19, 2020 at 4:23 PM EST
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It's a sport built on precision and accuracy.

"You are competing against other people, but you're ultimately competing against yourself," said UK rifle athlete Mary Tucker. "So as long as I carry that through, I should represent pretty well."

This summer, the University of Kentucky students Mary Tucker and Will Shaner will represent team USA at the Tokyo Olympics in the sport of air rifle. The pair recently qualified at the Air Rifle Olympic Trials in Colorado Springs.

"It was pretty amazing," said Shaner. "There aren't really words to describe. I mean, it was a pretty incredible feeling. I mean that not a lot of people get to feel. So it was pretty great."

"I haven't been shooting very long, so I never really thought that I would make it to the Olympics, but I went into it knowing that I wanted to win, and I knew that I could win," said Tucker. "So I was just super confident with it, trusted my process, and just went for it."

Shaner and Tucker are two of just four air rifle athletes who will represent Team USA in Tokyo, and they are the first two current UK rifle athletes to compete in the Olympics.

"It's just their passion that they have for the game," said UK rifle head coach Harry Mullins. "For them to be able to receive that reward, you know our pros are going to the Olympics."

The pair now have their sights set on a gold medal, both individually and as a team.

"Mary will shoot on the women's side, and Will will shoot on the men's side, and this year will be the first time they have what they call a mixed team event, and more than likely they'll probably compete together in the mixed team event," said Mullins. "So what would really be cool, not to put any pressure on them, but if they had a chance to medal in that event, it would be two people from the same school."