Vincent Hancock captures 3rd Olympic skeet gold, uses platform for Christ – sportsspectrum.com

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Vincent Hancock captures 3rd Olympic skeet shooting gold medal, sees platform as witness for Christ

By Christian Shields
Jul 26, 2021

Vincent Hancock of the U.S. celebrates after winning gold in the men's skeet at the Tokyo Olympics, July 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

After setting an Olympic record by hitting 59 of 60 targets, American Vincent Hancock became the first skeet shooter to win three Olympic gold medals. He defeated Jesper Hanen of Denmark on Monday at the Tokyo Olympics.

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A 38-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, Hancock hit his first 26 targets before missing, but then he closed with 34 straight. That gave him a gold medal to go with the two he earned from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Monday’s performance follows a disappointing finish at the 2016 Games, in which he placed 15th.

Hancock has long been the world’s best skeet shooter, winning four world championships and six World Cup events to go with his Olympic medals. He also was the first American skeet shooter to complete a perfect World Cup event, hitting every target at a 2015 competition in Mexico.

He is also a believer in Christ and says faith is a major part of his life. But that was not always the case. Despite growing up in a Christian home, Hancock truly came to know God after he married his wife, Rebekah. Because of her witness, Hancock accepted Christ.

“Slowly but surely, she made me understand who Jesus was again and what He had done for us, and I just fell back in love with Him,” Hancock told the Baptist Press in 2016.

The turning point came in 2011 when Hancock seriously considered quitting the sport. He had lost his love for shooting and was struggling on the World Cup circuit. Rebekah encouraged him to pray, on his own and with her. Within months, he started to see some improvement in his shooting.

“I attributed that to God just working through me and opening up my mind and saying, ‘You know what? You have an opportunity to do something great here, and it’s not just about winning medals,” Hancock told the Baptist Press, adding, “It’s for me to have a platform to introduce people to Christ, to show people what He’s capable of in us and to set an example.”

Hancock began to realize that, ultimately, his time in skeet shooting or the Olympics can have greater results than personal accolades.

“God has given me this amazing ability to do what I do, so I’m going to go out and I’m going to take a hold of it, and I’m going to do it because it’s more than just winning a gold,” Hancock told the Baptist Press. “It’s people I can impact in a positive direction on a daily basis through what I do — that would otherwise have no input from a Christian source.”

Also Monday, fellow American Amber English won the women’s skeet gold medal, following a win by William Shaner of the U.S. on Sunday in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event.

“It sets the tone of what can happen at USA Shooting,” Hancock said Monday. “Our athletes have been shooting at a really high level for quite a few years now. Because we’re a small sport, we don’t quite get the recognition, but looking at the number of medals we win on a yearly basis, it’s impressive.”

Shooting events continue for another week at the Tokyo Olympics.

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