I’m Team GB’s only Pistol Shooting Olympian from London 2012.
And the only British Pistol Shooter to have ever qualified and competed at an Olympic Games.
I followed my dream of becoming an Olympian and now with this journey and experience under my belt, I’m now on my “Road to Rio 2016.”
Where is home?
I’ve grown up on the edge of Dartmoor in the heart of Devon, enjoying a wide variety of activities that were available to me (and there are many!) I enjoyed and excelled in school and extra curricular education and sport. (7 years competing at English Schools Cross Country Championships, South West Athletics Championships, Devon County Netball Team, Regional Hockey Squad, Tennis……I had a go at anything!) Okehampton College, where I studied through GCSE’s and A Levels gave me a fantastic grounding in all my areas of life.
How did I get into Pistol Shooting?
Extra curricular activities centred on all equestrian activities and countryside sports. A keen member of the Mid Devon Pony Club ensured I not only took part in Eventing and Showing, but Tetrathlon (pistol shooting, running, swimming and riding) competitions as well.
Inspired by the Modern Pentathlon success of local athlete Kate Allenby and Steph Cook at the Sydney Olympics, I took up this new sport simply learning to Fence.
After a year of studying BA (HONS) Product Design at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), everything wasn’t being achieved to the standard I desired. So I found myself focusing competitively Pistol Shooting, having made the English Commonwealth Games Team in Melbourne 2006.
How did London hosting the 2012 Olympics impact Gorgs?
Graduating with a 2:1 BA (HONS) Product Design degree, I returned to Devon where I could focus my efforts of attempting to achieve my dream of becoming an Olympian and never saying “if only!”
Where do I train?
Air Pistol is not a problem to shoot in the UK. I train at Okehampton Rifle Club and Budleigh Farm, both just 7 miles from home. Sport Pistol (.22 Cartridge) is a challenge due to the strict UK Gun Laws. Only at Bisley, Surrey and the Tunnel Target Sports Centre, Dorset.
(above Budleigh Farm, below The Tunnel Target Sports Centre)
Weren’t Pistols Banned?
After the Dunblane incident in 1996, the pistol ban was enforced and even all the GB Squad’s equipment was taken out the country.Good connections with Switzerland meant the British Squad stored their equipment and in Zurich.
Mid summer 2009, only due to London hosting the Olympics, saw a very select number of TeamGB 2012 hopefuls have our pistols in the UK. And only in January 2010 were we allowed ammunition! Yes, for 6months we had pistols, with ammunition or training facilities!
Physical fitness has maintained an important part of my training, and there is no better place than Dartmoor. Having a good aerobic capacity helps keep your heart rate down and mind focused, when in pressurised situations. Running, horse riding and cycling are just a few activities I do on and around Dartmoor. Core stability is important if you’re trying to stay motionlessly still, whilst holding a pistol (1-1.5kg) at the furthest point from your body. My gym work is carried out at Exeter Fitness First. Psychologically Devon/Dartmoor is a stress-free location away from the hustle and bustle of life in the rest of the world. I find it a great place to maintain focus on my sporting career, especially with the distraction the London 2012 Olympics had!
How do I support my sporting career?
I’m self funded. Up till the end of 2012, I’ve lived with my parents to minimise my living costs, to therefore spend all the money that I earn working at Fingle Bridge Inn and the Ring O’ Bells, Chagford on my International sporting career. Support of kind sponsors like Gregorys Distribution (Team Gregory) and Helpful Holidays have been very important too. Additionally, public speaking and corporate events have earned me a little money too.
But what now?