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Shooting (Olympic sport since 1896)


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  Olympic history abounds with tales of athletes who overcame crippling adversity to win gold medals, but Karoly Takacs' comeback may be the best. Takacs was part of Hungary's world-champion pistol-shooting team in 1938 when an army grenade exploded in his right hand. Ten years later, he won the first two golds in rapid-fire pistol - after teaching himself to shoot left-handed.

  In a sport where the bullseye looks about the size of the full stop at the end of this sentence, a sport where shooters compete amid a cacophony of noise and still concentrate on firing between heartbeats, Takacs' achievement tests the imagination.

  From just three shooting events at the 1896 Olympic Games to 17 today, the sport has grown steadily. In part this leap can be ascribed to advances in the technology of firearms and equipment, which have led to constant changes in the shooting competition. But it can also be ascribed to the passion shooters have for their sport.

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