At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, 20-year-old William Shaner made history as the second youngest American to win an Olympic gold medal. His triumph in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event marked a tremendous triumph for Team USA.
He was raised in Colorado Springs and began shooting sports at the age of nine. At first, he participated in a 4-H program, then progressed onto monthly preliminary tryout events until competing in major matches.
The University of Kentucky Wildcats, famous for their sports teams and iconic mascot “Wildcat”, are a major public research university located in Lexington, Kentucky. Established in 1865, UK has 16 colleges and an MBA program offering around 90 undergraduate programs, nearly 100 master’s degrees and 66 doctoral degrees.
The university has a proud heritage of athletic excellence. Perhaps its most renowned sport is men’s basketball, which boasts more victories than any other American college team and has won seven national championships in this sport.
The football program has also experienced great success. Under Rich Brooks in 2006, their team defeated the Georgia Bulldogs and went on to win the Music City Bowl – their first bowl game win since 1999.
William Shaner, 20-year-old from Colorado Springs and the second youngest American to win an Olympic gold medal, made history on Sunday by winning the 10-meter air rifle event by setting a new Olympic record and defeating China’s Lihao Sheng in the final round to take home the medal.
At age 8, he began shooting and soon after that his success led him to join the Kentucky junior rifle team as a member in 2021, earning first-team All-American accolades from both air rifle and smallbore competitions of the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association.
In addition to his Olympic gold medal, he set an NCAA record in the men’s 10-meter air rifle during the 2021-22 college season and was part of Northwestern’s national championship squad in that event as well.
William Shaner of Colorado Springs won the gold medal in 10m Air Rifle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, setting an Olympic record with his score of 251.6 and becoming only the second-youngest American to do so in an Olympic rifle sport.
He is currently a junior at the University of Kentucky and a member of their shooting team. Additionally, he belongs to both the National Training Center Shooting Club and USA Shooting.
At the start of his college career, he earned an All-American designation from the Intercollegiate Rifle Coaches Association. As part of the University of Kentucky Wildcats’ rifle squad, he competed in numerous competitions throughout the year.
He participated in the 2018 National Junior Olympic Championships and went on to claim gold at the ISSF World Cup in Croatia over the summer. Additionally, he earned bronze in 50-meter rifle prone gameplay at the 2018 World Championships.
Shaner has been a part of the shooting community since he was eight years old, beginning his journey as an athlete at age eight. He competed in local, state, and national events before earning a place on the international circuit.
He hails from Colorado Springs, a city known for its longstanding firearms competition tradition. As a young child, he began competing in 4-H programs and eventually achieved national success.
His success at the Olympics is a testament to his hard work and dedication. He has become an inspirational role model for youth shooters across America, bringing greater recognition to the sport of shooting.
He recently returned home, after winning the men’s 10-meter air rifle event at the postponed Tokyo Games. With a final round score of 251.6, just 1.2 points off of the world record, 20-year-old Colorado Springs native beat China’s Sheng Lihao by 0.7 in the finals to claim gold.