Monday, May 24, 2004

Xavier grad Parker qualifies for Athens Games in air rifle

Olympic Shooting Trials

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jason Parker has shot his way back to the Olympics. The Xavier University graduate, the reigning world champion and world record-holder in 10-meter air rifle, finished Sunday as the top scorer in the three-day air rifle competition at the Olympic Shooting Trials in Fort Benning, Ga. He totaled 1,989 points; he and runner-up Matt Emmons (1,985) qualified.

"It's a real good feeling to be headed back to the Olympics," Parker said. "There were a lot of good competitors. The pressure got to me - my scores were a little lower than normal - but everyone had to go through the same thing."

Parker, 29, placed fifth in air rifle at the 2000 Olympics, and won at the most recent world championships in 2002.

Parker will also try to qualify in the other two men's rifle events - prone and three-position (standing, kneeling and prone) - both of which are shot at 50 meters. Parker, who won the 2003 Pan American Games in three-position, should contend for one of the two U.S. Olympic spots in that event.

The men's prone competition is Tuesday through Thursday, and three-position is May 29-31.

"This (air rifle) is the event I really wanted to go in," Parker said. "Now hopefully I can be more relaxed the rest of the week."

Hannah Kerr, a Xavier senior-to-be, finished ninth in the women's three-position rifle event. She failed to qualify and had a three-day total of 1,801.7 points.

Three other Greater Cincinnatians already have qualified for the Olympics: synchronized swimmer Becky Jasontek and boxers Ron Siler and Rau'Shee Warren.

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