With the exception of the 1904 and 1928 Games, shooting has been included at every modern Olympics since its inception in 1896. After initially consisting of just two events the programme has grown in recent years and since 2000 has included 15 medal categories. The rapid fire pistol event is the longest running having been staged at all but two of the Games where shooting has been involved.

Though competitors now shoot clay targets, the Games in 1900 saw live pigeons used until they were replace four years later. Its inclusion as one of nine events in the very first Olympics was instigated by the champion of the movement Pierre de Coubertin, who was a French champion in the pistol discipline. Shooting contains the oldest Olympic medal winner in history, with 72-year-old Oscar Swahn winning silver in 1920.

Rules & format

The shooting competition is split into three separate disciplines; rifle, pistol and shotgun, with each event defined by the weapon used by the competitors. Athletes then compete over a variety of distances, either 10 meters, 25 meters or 50 meters, and in a selection of poses either standing, kneeling or prone; which sees them lie on their front.

Each shooter will enter a qualifying round which ranges between 20 and 120 shots, with the top eight progressing to the final. Shots are taken within a particular time frame. In the medal final, shooters are eliminated over a 20-shot competition based on their success, until just two competitors remain to battle for gold. Count back is used as a tiebreaker if shooters are level.

Rio 2016 Olympic shooting
The nine days of the shooting competition will bring suspense and tension to the Rio Olympics. Getty Images

Key terms

Prone – One of the three stances adopted by shooters in competitions which sees athletes lie on their front while completing their shot. Only used for the men's 50m rifle event.

Lost – When a shooter misses the target entirely during competition.

Tsotne Machavariani
The 47-year-old Tsotne Machavariani will compete alongside her son in Rio. Getty Images

Athletes to watch

Tsotne Machavariani and Nino Salukvadze: The shooting competition will represent a special moment for one Georgian family as Tsotne and Nino become the first mother and son pair to compete at an Olympic Games. Trained by grandfather Vakhtang Salukvadze, Salukvadze won bronze in Beijing in the air pistol event, while her 18-year-old son will be making his Games debut in the men's 10 meter and 50 meter competitions. They may not trouble the medal positions but as two of the 39 athletes sent by Georgia to Rio they will be plucking a few heartstrings come competition day.


National Shooting Center: A venue which normally hosts up to 20,000 military personnel will house the Olympic shooting competition. Originally built for the Pan American Games in 2007, it has belonged to the 1<sup>st division of the Brazilian army but following a minor update those soldiers will make way for hundreds of athletes from across the world.


Saturday 6 August: Women's 10m air rifle qualification and final, Men's air pistol qualification and final.

Sunday 7 August: Women's 10m air pistol qualification and final, women's trap qualification and final, men's trap qualification day one.

National Shooting Center
Normally the home to 20,000 members of the military, the National Shooting Center will be the backdrop to the shooting competition. Getty Images

Monday 8 August: Men's trap qualification day two and final, men's 10m air rifle qualification and final.

Tuesday 9 August: Women's 25m pistol qualification and final.

Wednesday 10 August: Men's double trap qualification and final, men's 50m pistol qualification and final.

Thursday 11 August: Women's 50m rifle three positions qualification and final.

Friday 12 August: Men's trap qualification day two, men's 50 rifle prone qualification and final, men's skeet qualification day one, men's 25m rapid fire pistol qualification stage one, women's skeet final.

Saturday 13 August: Men's skeet qualification day two and final, men's 25m rapid fire pistol qualification stage two and final.

Sunday 14 August: Men's 50m rifle three positions qualification and final.