After having just returned from competing in Men’s 10m air rifle at the Rio Olympics, Lucas Kozeniesky graciously came to practice with his former high school team, the Robinson Rams, at 6 AM on Saturday, August 13, 2016, at the NRA HQ range.
Athletes and coaches were equally excited by his visit, with several selfies taken with our most famous alum. Those in attendance heard first-hand about competing at the Olympic level, and the thrill of walking in the opening ceremony. Apparently it was quite a walk – over a kilometer – for the procession to get into the stadium.
As we heard, Olympic officials raised an issue a mere 30 minutes before the qualification match was to begin.
They stated that the tape (holding weights) on Lucas’ rifle was not allowed, and had to be removed. After discussion, it was determined that requiring removal of the tape was not in accordance with the rules, but that the weights still had to be removed. During this critical time, Lucas was forced to perform surgery on his rifle to reinstall the weights needed for balance, and could not go through his pre-match preparation routine, as his competitors were doing. As always, Lucas showed courage and perseverance, finishing 21st.
Those following the Women’s 10m air rifle competition may be aware that Sarah Scherer endured a similar ordeal – except she was forced to remove her tape in the brief period between qualification and he final, where she finished eighth (last).
Regardless, we are proud of our Olympians, and thankful to Lucas for giving back to our Robinson Team. Go NC State Wolfpack (a.k.a. Robinson South)!