Jon Hammond looked down the range at the target, knowing full well that he was one shot from the gold.
How many times had he squeezed the trigger since those days back in Scotland when he was barely old enough to hold the rifle steady in his hands? He’d spent his lifetime preparing for this moment, for this one last shot.
He was far from the world he had come to know, be it as a schoolboy in Great Britain or as rifle coach of the West Virginia University rifle team, the man who had helped rescue the once-dead program and lifted it back to an NCAA championship team.
He stood there in New Delhi, India, a strange land that he had simply ignore for the week he was there to shoot in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, representing his country with a certain kind of pride that is hard to explain.
Already he had won a bronze and a silver and a gold and now he could complete the sweep.
One more shot.
o o o o o o
Jonathon Hammond had traveled a crooked path to this moment. He had somehow managed to shoot in an Olympic Game, the ultimate, before he appeared in the Commonwealth Games.
“I was aware of the games in 1998 but I was involved with the Scottish junior and senior teams and not ready for international competition. In 2002 I was close but narrowly missed. In 2006 I was here in West Virginia, working on the golf tournament at Pete Dye and going to school and not training enough to be ready,” he explained.
This time he was ready and available and it is a wonderful thing, for in the Olympics you represent Great Britian, which is the whole Commonwealth, but at these games you represent your home country.
“The Scottish people, probably more so than the English and a lot of nations, take a lot of pride in their country. There’s just so much history and tradition and there’s always that underdog feeling, being next to England and stuff,” he said.
And he was representing Scotland well, in this tournament and through life.