COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A local athlete is back home in the Olympic City from Tokyo with a gold medal around his neck.
William Shaner, 20, made Team USA history at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics by setting an Olympic record in the 10-meter Air Rifle event.
Shaner won with a final-round score of 251.6 at the Asaka Shooting Range, knocking out China’s Sheng Lihao, 16, by 0.7.
He told KRDO the journey to the gold has been anything but easy.
"60 times I have to repeat the same thing over and make it perfect," said Shaner.
He's spent years perfecting his craft with long days at the gun range.
"I've been doing this for a long time and to it is a lot of hard work and to see it pay off has been really nice," shared Shaner.
Shooting, Shaner explained, is a sport where mental strength plays a huge role.
"It is a lot in the moment and working on your mental fortitude and staying focus, and it takes a lot, a lot of work, we spend 4-5 hours on the range every day," said Shaner.
When he was on the brink of setting an Olympic record and earning the first gold medal in the event for the United States, Shaner said he was locked in.
"It was a long final, the whole time I knew one mistake was going to send me from first to third," said Shaner. "I tried to stay in the moment and try to finish it first before I thought about winning."
When he realized all his hard work paid off and he won, Shaner says he was filled with emotions.
"It was emotional and it was tough because family and friends couldn't be there, but to know you finally won and you've done this your whole life and you bring that medal back to the U.S. It was great."
Shaner, who is also a student-athlete for the University of Kentucky, plans on prepping for the upcoming rifle season this fall. His next goal is winning the gold at the 2024 Olympics.