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American Teen-Ager Seeks Medal in Shotgun Event

July 23, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ The city of El Monte, Calif., honored trap shooter Kim Rhode with the highest civilian award it can bestow on a hometown hero _ the ``El Monte Tile.″

Today in Atlanta, the high school junior was to go after the kind of recognition the world can appreciate.

Rhode, who turned 17 a week ago, was among the favorites to win a medal in the women’s double trap event. Double trap _ for both men and women _ is a new event at the Summer Olympics.

In just two years of international competition, Rhode has won a gold medal and two bronzes. She also is the U.S. national champion.

In double trap, the shooters fire 12-gauge shotguns at four-inch clay targets thrown two at a time from an underground bunker at speeds of up to 50 mph. Competitors get one shot per target.

Also scheduled today was preliminary and final round competition in men’s free pistol. Among those entered was China’s Wang Yifu, who collapsed on Saturday minutes after the end of the air pistol competition.

Wang’s low score on his final shot cost him the gold medal. He had to be given oxygen and was carried from the shooting arena on a stretcher.

An Olympic official said Monday that Wang was expected to compete in free pistol. He won the silver medal in that event in Barcelona in 1992.

The United States just missed a third medal in shooting Monday when Rob Harbison of Fallston, Md., scored just 8.6 on his final shot in the 10-meter air rifle event. He needed a 9.4 or better for the bronze.

Harbison was in third place going into the final shot, but dropped to seventh. He wasn’t able to see the scoreboard, and said that added to the pressure.

``I thought I probably needed to shoot a really deep one and I was probably working a little too hard on that last shot,″ he said.

Russia’s Artem Khadzhibekov won the gold medal. The silver went to Wolfram Waibel Jr. of Austria, and Jean-Pierre Amat of France won the bronze.

Khadzhibekov set an Olympic record with 695.7 points, breaking the mark of 695.3 points set by Russia’s Juri Fedkin in Barcelona four years ago. Waibel scored 695.2 and Amat 693.1.

Khadzhibekov went into the 10-shot finals tied with Harbison for second place and two points behind Waibel. Khadzhibekov took the lead early in the final round and kept it by scoring 10 or better _ 10.9 is a perfect shot _ with his final six shots.

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