September 18, 2000
to continue fall
a little short of the goal
By TERRY JONES
-- Sun Media
SYDNEY -- For a while, it looked as if Susan Nattrass was about to write a story of
stories at the Olympic Games.
Forty-nine years old and responsible for getting women their own trap shooting event
at the Olympics, she was leading and going for gold.
After 25 shots, she had hit 23.
But just as Nattrass dared dream the impossible dream, it all disintegrated like the
clay pigeons around her.
She missed four of her next nine and hit only 18 of 25 on her second set. Nattrass
finished with 63 of 75 - two misses too many to make the six-woman final. She ended up
The Edmonton shooter, who at the 1976 Olympics broke the gender barrier as the first
woman to compete with the men, broke the first 15 targets of the final set. But then she
missed two of the next three and was history.
After women were barred from trap shooting in 1992, Dr. Nattrass (she has a PhD in
philosophy) began a campaign to get a separate women's event. It was a long battle that
included a personal appeal to IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. Her efforts paid off
just in time for these Games.
As Nattrass stood behind the firing line, women from all over the world took turns
hugging her for making their Olympic dreams possible.
"It was a blast," the four-time Olympian said to Pia Hansen of Sweden, who
missed one too many and missed the final, too.
Only one photographer was shooting pictures of Nattrass last night. Twenty-four
years ago in Montreal, when she dressed to display her legs, scores of telephoto lenses
were trained on her.
Her shorts are much longer these days and there are strands of gray in her hair. But
for a moment, until she started to think she was in position to win, there was hope.
"In this sport, you shouldn't think. You should disengage your mind,"
Nattrass said. "I think I became a little cautious."
Her Olympics aren't over, she now competes in double trap.
"I came here as a contender (in the trap)," she said of the main event.
"In double trap ... no way.
"Go see David Ford instead," she said, referring to a fellow Edmontonian
whose whitewater kayak event begins today.
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