EATONTON -- Vincent Hancock told his hometown friends four years ago he would be back to celebrate another Olympic gold medal, and on Saturday he kept his word.
Over 200 people turned out to applaud the native son who in 2012 London Olympics became the first person to win back-to-back gold medals in skeet shooting.
“I hope you realize how proud you have made this community,” said Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce President Wes Lewis, who presented Hancock with a Br’er Rabbit statue adorned with a gold medal.
Several other community leaders presented him with plaques and commended him for following through on his promise to win a second gold medal.
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“It has been an honor to represent our nation but I always remember where I came from,” Hancock told the crowd.
Hancock is a sergeant in the Army and is a shooting instructor at Fort Benning. He said after the ceremony he plans to leave the Army at the end of this year. He and his father are starting a shooting academy to be headquartered in Eatonton, and he wants to bring young people into the sport.
He said be believes shooting can be a good activity for youth who may not have the athletic ability to compete in traditional sports.
“You don’t have to be a great athlete to be able to do this,” he said. “You just have to be willing to work hard at it.”
Sgt. First Class Kevin Heerman, who works with Hancock in the marksmanship unit at Fort Benning, said Hancock lives up to his words.
“Every time I go by the shotgun range he is always there and always shooting,” Heerman said. “It shows what someone can do when they have a good work ethic.”
Hancock said he plans to be at the 2016 Olympics, but he stopped short of promising a third straight gold medal.
“It’s definitely not a gimme,” he said. “I’ve still got to make the team and earn a spot for the U.S.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.