Past Olympics Athletes >> Shan Zhang
- Date of birth
Olympic Games (1 medal - 1 gold)
- Skeet: 1st (1992)
World Championships (9 medals - 3 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze)
- Skeet: 1st (1989), 2nd (1993, 1998), 3rd (1990)
- Skeet teams: 1st (1989, 1998), 2nd (1990, 1999, 2001)
Asain Games (1 medal - 1 gold)
- Skeet: 1st (1990)
Lucky Luke turns out to be a woman
This result resonated like a pistol shot around the shooting stands in Barcelona on July 27, 1992. It was the master stroke of a then 24-year-old Chinese woman, Shan Zhang.
From Nanchong in the south-west of China, this young shooting prodigy standing 1.63m tall with a deep love for literature started off her sporting life playing basketball at the age of 10.
Lightning reflexes and a lively spirit pulled her towards shooting, in particular the skeet event. Disciplined and attentive, she made speedy progress and was soon chosen for her regional team.
With an eye for the target and an uncanny familiarity with the 12-bore rifle, Shan made quick progress.
In 1985 she took the silver medal in the inaugural Junior Games in China, transcended four years later by the national title when she hit 195 out of 200 targets. A week later she lifted the women's world individual and team title in Montecatini, Italy.
Giving the men food for thought
But it was in Barcelona that Shan was to have her moment of glory. Over two days of competition she produced a score of 373 out of 375, a new Olympic and world record.
She also became the first woman to topple the men in the history of the Olympic Games' shooting competition.
Since this feat the men have obtained the right to compete between themselves and the skeet will now be a male-only event.
Until Sydney 2000, Shan had not been able to defend her title, although she had made history by becoming, and remaining, the only woman to have won a mixed Olympic shooting event.
In Australia, she failed to repeat her heroics of the past and finished 8th.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.