Olympic Skeet, also known as "international style" skeet, was first introduced into the Olympic Games program during the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City. This style of shooting (as opposed to present day American style skeet shooting, mentioned above) is required to follow the rules set by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), a worldwide shooting organization that is based in Germany. These rules are in accordance with the International Olympic Committee. The American team is fielded from the USA Shooting Team, the national organizing body of the United States shooting athletes. This is done by holding open matches (the public and military are both invited to compete) where shooters compete to get a spot on the team.
Some changes had to be made in order to make skeet (which was an American invention) transform into an Olympic Game, one that would be harder and rigorous than its predecessor. The changes and their contrasts with American skeet are as follows:
- The low-gun position. In American skeet, one is allowed to have the gun pre-mounted and ready for target sighting. The low-gun position requires the shooter to keep the butt stock of his/her gun below a certain line that is sewn onto the shooters vest or shirt. The gun cannot be mounted until the target is visible.
- 12 gauge 24 gr. international shotshell loads. In American skeet, one is allowed to use up to 1 1/8 oz. loads as compared to the relatively small 24 gr. international load (a bit smaller than 7/8 oz.) Less shot means less little friends out there trying to help you. There are no speed restrictions in either discipline.
- Variable-timing (anywhere from instantaneous to 3 seconds from the call of the bird) target release. In American skeet, the target is to be released up to 1 second after the call for the target. However, it is typically instantaneous. Olympic style skeet can test the nerves of even the most seasoned shooters by waiting until the bird is in view.
- Faster targets. In American skeet, the targets travel around 40 mph. In Olympic skeet, the targets travel around 60 mph.
- Different order of targets. In American skeet, targets are released so that there are no doubles shots on stations #3,#4,#5 and that single shots from both houses are taken at every station. Doubles from #3,#4,#5 are very hard in either discipline. See below. Also, the targets are about 5 mm. larger than a standard American target and as a result of the increased size and weight, are harder to break.
Olympic skeet is divided into two events in order to accommodate the men and the women. Both procedurally shoot the same game, the difference lies in the fact that women shoot 75 targets in one day while the men shoot 125 targets over a two day period (75 one day, 50 the next).
In Olympic skeet the targets are released in a combination of singles and doubles up to a total of 25 targets per round shot across 8 different shooting stations. Targets are released from two different locations — the high house and the low house. Both targets are set to go the same distance and speed; the only difference between the two is the angle and distance above the ground from which they are released. The field layout is that of a semicircle with station #1 directly under the high house, station #7 directly next to the low house window and station #8 directly between stations #1 and #7. Stations #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6 all follow the semicircle between stations #1 and #7. Station #4 is directly in line with station #8 (see above).
Shooters shoot single targets and doubles, which is a target simultaneously thrown from both the high house and low house. The Shooting order is as follows:
- Station #1: 1 High House Target, 1 Double
- Station #2: 1 High House Target, 1 Double
- Station #3: 1 High House Target, 1 Double
- Station #4: 1 High House Target, 1 Low House Target, 1 Double: High House Target 1st., 1 Double: Low House Target 1st.
- Station #5: 1 Low House Target, 1 Double
- Station #6: 1 Low House Target, 1 Double
- Station #7: 1 Double
- Station #8 High: 1 High House Target
- Station #8 Low: 1 Low House Target
The object of the game is to break as many targets as possible. With quick hand eye coordination, the proper shotgun, the right coach and lots and lots of money, it is possible that you could win a coveted Gold Medal.
For further reading, please see http://www.usashooting.com