The shooting sport at the Olympic Games
In 1896, the modern Olympic Games began, through the efforts of the Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who made his life's work to resurrect the Olympic dream that had first begun in ancient Greece several centuries before the common area. In Athens, Greece the first modern Olympic Games were conducted with nine sports and the former French pistol champion, Pierre de Coubertin supported the inclusion of two big-bore rifle and three pistol events on the Olympic program.
Up until today Shooting Sport just had missed twice to be on the Olympic program. Shooting Sport competitions were not held at the 3rd Games 1904 in St. Louis, USA and at the Games 1928 in Amsterdam, NED.
The list of events has been modified at successive Games in the light of how guns have evolved, taking account also of customs and tradition. Until 1924, the Shooting program contained a multitude of events that were subsequently dropped: 31 events at all. 17 of these 31 events appeared on the program just once, and further nine appeared twice. This shows how unstable the program was at that time. After a “break” in 1928, shooting returned to the Olympics in 1932 with only two events - one for pistols and one for rifles. Since World War II the programme has become relatively standardised.
Of the events that were dropped, it is worth mentioning the 300m rifle, which was included in the program of 12 times until 1972 which had been one of the three shooting events on the program since 1896. Individual and team events were fired until 1948, when team competitions were eliminated by the ISSF- International Shooting Sport federation, former UIT - International Shooting Federation.
Women were first allowed to compete in Olympic shooting in 1968. In that year Mexico, Peru and Poland each entered one female contestant. Women have competed with the men until 1980. At the 1984 Games, women took part for the first time in a separate program consisting of three events. Between 1984 and 1992 the number of women's events increased gradually. In addition, trap and skeet events remained mixed, i.e. open to both men and women.
As of 1996 in Atlanta, the shooting programme was segregated, with men's events being separated from the women's. More recently, the double trap events for men and women were added to the Olympic programme.
Participation has crown steadily through the years. While only 31 known competitors from seven nations competed in the shooting events at the first Games Athens in 1896, 462 shooters participated from 68 nations at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. In the following Games the participation was restricted by the IOC quota rule and the IOC has approved a total quota of 3400 athletes in Seoul 1988 who came from 66 nations.
At the 2004 Athens Olympic Games 390 athletes were accepted for participation, where 253 men and 157 women from 106 nations took part in 17 shooting events.
The Olympic Program changed for the 2008 Games, and the number of shooting events passed from 17 to 15. Running Target and Double Trap Women events were discontinued. In spite of the events reduction, the participation increased, and 390 shooters coming from more then 100 countries took part in the 2008 Olympic Games of Beijing.(by ISSF)