The deadeye husband-wife tandem of shooters Matt and Katerina Emmons continued wearing out the path to the medals podium at the Beijing Summer Games.
Matt is a former University of Alaska Fairbanks shooter who lists both Fairbanks and Browns Mill, N.J., as his hometown. Katerina, his wife, shoots for the Czech Republic.
On Friday in Beijing, Matt won a silver medal in the 50-meter prone event, just behind Artur Ayvazian of the Ukraine. Four years ago in Athens, Greece, Emmons won gold in the same event.
He joins alpine skier Tommy Moe as the only Alaskans who have more than one Olympic medal. Moe captured a gold and silver as well, in the downhill and super-G races in the 1994 Winter Games.
After the competiton, Emmons walked over to the stands, where his wife rushed to embrace him.
We got another one, honey, Matt beamed. We got another one.
They kissed. Twice.
Within 24 hours, the Emmons had become a silver-and-gold studded pair. Katerina captured her second medal of these Olympics, taking silver in the womens 50-meter, three-position rifle event. She won the 10-meter air rifle event on the first day of competition last week.
On Friday, Matt had a terrific final particularly his last five shots, when he cut Ayvazians 2.4-point cushion to a single point. But it wasnt enough.
Emmons finished with 701.7 points to 702.7 for Ayvazian. Warren Potent, 46, of Australia, the top-ranked shooter coming in, was third.
To win another medal is big, UAF rifle coach Dan Jordan, Emmons former Nanook teammate, said by phone from Fairbanks. He shot a really good final. Its hard to make up two points. In prone, there are 10 guys who can medal.
But Matts a real solid finals shooter. He did what he always does.
In the earlier womens competition, Katerina Emmons finished with 687.7 points, trailing only Du Li of China. Du had been the favorite in the earlier 10-meter air rifle competition the first final at these Summer Games but was soundly dispatched by Emmons.
Not so Thursday. Du led by one point entering the finals and went on to victory.
Former UAF shooter Jamie Beyerle, 24, of Lebanon, Pa., was the top American, finishing fifth. That ended an oh-so-close Olympics for Beyerle, who was fourth in the air rifle event, just out of the medals.
Beyerle and Matt Emmons were UAF teammates in 2002-03, when Emmons was a senior and Beyerle a freshman. Jordan can feel her pain.
Fourth, you hate being just out of the medals, the UAF coach said.
After not making the Olympic team four years ago, Beyerle focused on reaching China.
I wouldnt be where I am right now if it wasnt for shooting at UAF, she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The Alaska team had so much depth and it helped to make me the shooter that I am today, especially being on the team with Matt Emmons.
Du felt the pressure to make up for her sub-par opening effort.
During the first event I did perform very bad and it was a big pity, Du said. I let many people down. I thought about giving up but ... during the past days fans give me a lot of support and my spirit resumed. Du said she received many postcards and words of encouragement and was touched by those sentiments. She thanked Katerina Emmons, who consoled her after that loss.
Katerina is proving to be a reliable shoulder to cry on. She and Matt Emmons began dating soon after she consoled him following his debacle at the Athens Summer Games, when he lost a sure gold medal by shooting at the wrong target on his last shot.
Katerina Emmons said Thursdays three-position rifle isnt her strongest event, so she was happy just to make the finals.
I wasnt nervous at all because I already won a gold medal, so I was very calm coming in, she said. Matt Emmons won four individual NCAA titles while leading the Nanooks to four team championships from 1999-2003.
In an e-mail to the News-Miner sent Thursday from Beijing, he insisted his Olympic shooting mishap was ancient history.
Looking back, I dont really think about it much unless someone brings it up. It doesnt weigh on my mind and it was pretty much over and done with as soon as I realized it happened, Emmons said. I accept it for what it is.
Emmons, one of four UAF athletes who will make up the inaugural UAF Nanooks Hall of Fame class, plans to be in Fairbanks for the induction ceremony on Sept. 27.
And while he previously said he planned to move to Fairbanks eventually, those plans have changed. He and Katerina now live in Colorado Springs, Colo.
As of three years ago when I last went to Fairbanks, I had every intention of moving back there, but since I met Katy things have changed a little bit, Emmons told the News-Miner. If I plan to keep shooting after this Olympics, it doesnt make sense for me logistically to live in Alaska since its so far away and its more difficult to travel to world competitions.
I am sure Katy would love Fairbanks, but a lot of her family is still in the Czech Republic and her parents are going to be in Australia, so we have to factor in traveling to see her family.
Emmons UAF experience was pivotal and left an indelible mark on his career. Emmons recalled how he made his first recruiting visit to UAF and immediately knew it was the place for him.
When I got on the plane to head home from that visit, I felt like something was missing because Alaska just felt like home right away, Emmons said. UAF had everything that fit my expectations for a great team. My teammates felt like family to me and that is one of the most important aspects of the sport.
On Saturday, Emmons competes in the small-bore rifle, three-position event the event in which he cross-fired at the wrong target in Athens.
Its his specialty and another medal would make him Alaskas most decorated Olympian.