U.S. Army 1st Lt. Sarah Beard won the Gold Medal in Women's Three-Position Rifle at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, July 28.
Her qualification round score of 1165-61x included a perfect 400 in the prone stage and placed her into the Finals with the second-best score. Puerto Rico's Yarimar Mercado had the top qualification round score of 1168-54x.
In the Final, the Danville, Indiana native fought her way to the top. After the first kneeling stage, she was in third place. After the prone stage, she had moved up to second. In the standing stage, she battled it out to seize the Gold with a 454.9, a .7 point lead over Silver Medalist Eglys De La Cruz from Cuba.
Meanwhile, Team USA's Ginny Thrasher was still in the mix and ended up claiming the Bronze Medal with a score of 444.0, which included her shooting the highest five-shot string of the eight competitors with a 51.2 (10.24 average).
Since Beard had already won a 2020 Olympic Quota in Women's Three-Position Rifle with her Gold Medal at the 2018 Championship of the Americas, she was ineligible to win another. That meant that De La Cruz' Silver Medal and Thrasher's Bronze Medal would earn the Olympic Quotas, bringing the United States to their maximum two-quota allotment in the event.
"A bronze medal has never felt so much like gold to me," Thrasher explained to USA Shooting. "Any day I can represent my country on the podium is a great day and being able to win a quota for Team USA to compete in Tokyo is an achievement I'm proud of. Peru has been such a great host country to us and getting to share the podium with my teammate on such a beautiful range made today even more special."
After receiving her Gold Medal, Beard told USA Shooting that she too was thrilled to share the podium with another Team USA athlete. "As always, it's an honor to represent Team USA on the podium," Beard said. "It's even better sharing it with a teammate. I'm happy to come home having accomplished my job."
Beard is a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier who is assigned to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and trains with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia. Her father, 1984 Olympian William Beard, also trained at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. The Beard family, is just one example of why the USAMU continues to be called, the Home of Champions.