Magazine Feature / People

Shooting for gold: DU student is a 2008 Olympic hopeful

Even though DU junior Greg Patton is an expert marksman, some say his aim is a little high.


The accounting major is shooting for gold at the 2008 Olympics in China.

“My goals include winning a gold medal in the 2008 or 2012 games and to be consistently ranked second or third in the United States,” Patton says.

If history is any indication, he may just hit his target.

Patton has been on the U.S. Olympic double trap team (shooting clay targets launched 16 meters away) for the last five years. He’s been making powder of those clay targets since grade school.

A knee injury ended his first sport of choice, baseball. So at age 11 he began the search for a game that didn’t require running.

“Shooting was one of them, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Patton says.

And doing it well. As a competitor in his local 4-H club, he began taking home medals and then winning more at both the regional and national levels.

Eventually he made the Junior Olympic Team, where he continued filling his trophy case with hardware, winning the gold in the 2004 National Junior Olympics.

Last fall at the USA Shooting Shotgun Fall Selection Match in the junior men’s double trap, Patton took first to secure another year on the National Development Team.

Today, in double trap, he’s first in the country in juniors. And last year at the world championships he placed sixth.

But as of this year, he’s too old to compete in the junior division and now has to compete at the higher senior level.

Nevertheless, he says he will continue aiming high.

“I’ve always been pushed to do my best in my life, no matter what,” Patton says. “In school, sports and lifestyle, I’ve always strived for the best that I can possibly achieve.”

Lloyd Woodhouse, the U.S. Olympic team shooting coach, says Patton has his work cut out.

“He’s shooting well and getting better all the time, but the competition at the senior level is much stiffer,” Woodhouse says. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”

Patton won’t know if he makes the Olympic team until next month. Only three shooters get to go.

“It gives me something to work for,” Patton says. “But it is within possibility … I just have to work hard in the next year and try my best to do well.”

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