Shooting News

CMP Announces Air Force Coach, Olympian Launi Meili as 2024 First Shot Speaker

CAMP PERRY, Ohio – Each year, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) facilitates the ceremonial First Shot Ceremony – a formal opening to the annual National Matches at Camp Perry. To officially start the month-long series of rifle, pistol and air gun events, a traditional “first shot” is simulated on the historic Camp Perry ranges by a prestigious member of the marksmanship community.

For 2024, the CMP is honored to announce Olympian, Air Force Academy Rifle Head Coach and CMP Board Member Launi Meili as the chosen First Shot Speaker.

Meili won gold at the Barcelona Olympics.

The rifle Meili will use for the traditional first shot is a gold-plated 1907 Standard that was presented to her at the 1993 SHOT Show by Dieter Anschütz, owner/president of Anschütz Rifles. It was personally made for Meili after winning the gold medal in Barcelona in 1992 and has been on display at the USA Shooting Hall of Fame.

The 2024 First Shot Ceremony will mark the rifle’s first-ever firing.

For the First Shot, Meili will be using an Anschütz gifted to her back in her Olympic days.

About Launi Meili – A Celebrated NCAA Coach:

Launi Meili is the current head coach of the NCAA Air Force Academy Rifle Team – a title she has held for over 15 years. Under her direction, the team has qualified for the NCAA National Championship for nine straight seasons and has placed within the top five teams five separate times, including a third place finish in 2023 and an air rifle national title in 2019 – the first in program history. She also helped train freshman Scott Rockett to the program’s first NCAA air rifle championship title.

Before arriving at the Air Force Academy, Meili served as head coach at Nebraska for five seasons – even leading the Cornhuskers to a No. 2 national ranking during the 2004-05 season and a fifth place finish at NCAA Nationals in 2007. She also coached 21 All-American individuals and helped earn seven young women places on the U.S. Development Team. For her achievements, she claimed coach of the year honors in 2006.

Respected Athlete and Mentor:

As a competitor, Meili was a member of the U.S. Shooting team for 10 years and participated in two Olympics Games, two Pan American Games and a World Championship – going on to produce three world records, three Olympic records, a world team championship and an Olympic gold medal for three-position smallbore rifle in Barcelona in 1992. With her win in Barcelona, she became the first American woman to ever win gold in smallbore. Having competed in air rifle and smallbore in both Barcelona and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, she remains the only woman to do so at two separate Games.

She retired from competitive shooting in 1992 and spent the next 10 years coaching junior and elite athletes at clinics and camps nationwide. She was also the U.S. National Rifle Team assistant coach from 1997 to 2000 and helped produce the International Coach Certification Program – the highest level of coaching credential recognized by USA Shooting and the National Rifle Association.

Meili was inducted into the International Shooting Hall of Fame during the 2004-05 season for her outstanding dedication to the sport.

Education and Beyond:

Additionally, Meili is a scholar – earning her master’s degree in sports psychology from the University of Idaho in 2001 and a bachelor’s in nutritional and exercise physiology from Eastern Washington University. She has also authored a book, “Rifle: Steps to Success,” and developed a mental training workshop for athletes, coaches and business personnel in the U.S. and Japan.

In more recent years, Meili joined the CMP Board of Directors and has since been fundamental in the continued development of youth programs.

The 2024 First Shot Ceremony will be held Monday, July 15, at 4:30 p.m. on Camp Perry’s Rodriguez Range. Along with an address from Meili, the event will feature prominent guests, flyovers from authentic World War II planes, static vintage vehicle displays and more. Find info on the 2024 National Matches, including a calendar of events, by visiting the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/cmp-national-matches/.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.

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