A short history
1812 The first organized club for shotgun shooting was established in England - The Old Hats. The name derives from the use of old top hats from which live pigeon where sprung as targets. Guns at that time where all muzzle load.
1832 The frenchman Casimir Lefacheaux invented the pinfire shotgun shell, which made reloading the shotgun a lot faster. The pinfire cartridge was later replaced by the type we use today.
1850 Shotgun shooting grows very popular and exceeds the supply of live pigeons. Glass balls filled with feathers are introduced as a substitute. Famous glass ball shooters where Annie "Ms. Sure Shot" Oakley and William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
1877 The American captain Adam Bogardu, also a famous glass ball shooter, invented the glass ball trap machine or catapult. This made the throws more uniform and competitions more fair.
1880 A lot of scattered glass on the field of play from the glass balls was considered a downside of the otherwise fun sport. This was remedied as George Ligowsky from Ohio USA invented the clay target from hard baked clay. In order to promote his new invention he arranged a series of matched across the United States between the two most known glass ball shooters captain Adam Bogardu and William "Doc" Carver. Carver won 19 of the 25 matches and the clay target became a success.
1884 The Ligowsky clay target of baked clay was wery hard to break and was soon replaced by a new invention "the Preoria Blackbird", the first modern clay target, consisting of coal tar, pich and other ingredients. The target was all black, hence the name. The father of the modern target is considered to be Fred Kimble from Illinois.
1900 Shotgun shooting was introduced in the Olympics. The Paris Olympics 1900 included two shotgun disciplines trap and believe it or not, live pigeon shooting. This was the first and only time live pigeons where targets in any Olympics.
1908 The London Olympics. Finland participates for the first time in the Olympics. Of the total 62 athletes nine where shooters. In the three person trap team you will find Karl Fazer the founder of the Fazer confectionary enterprise, world known (at least among Finns) for its Fazer Blue chocolate.
1920 Skeet is introduced as a new shotgun discipline by Charles E. Davies from Massachusetts. Olympic status it gets a lot later.
1924 Paris Olympics. Konrad "Konni" Huber wins for Finland the first Olympic medal (silver) in shotgun. The team from Finland is on third place.
1937 Konrad Huber wins for Finland its first World Champoinship gold medal in trap before his home audience in the Helsinki World Championships.
1968 Even if skeet was invented in the 1920's it was not until the Olympic in Mexico in 1968 that it was introduced as an Olympic event. The first gold medallist was Evgeni Petrov from USSR.
1996 The Atlanta Olympics. Double trap becomes an Olympic event. Women have their own category. Gold medallists were Mark Russel from Australia and Kimberly Rhode from USA. The women's double trap event is short lived in the Olympics. Only three games, 1996, 2000 and 2004.
2000 Sidney Olympics. Women have their own categories also in skeet and trap. First winners are Daina Gudzineviciute, LTU (trap) and Zemfira Meftakhetdinova AZE (skeet). But, Zemfira was not the first lady to win an Olympic gold medal in skeet. In Barcelona in 1992 Shan Zheng from China won the medal in the skeet mixed event.
2004 Athens Olympics. Marko Kemppainen (skeet) wins for Finland its second Olympic medal in shotgun (silver) after a dry spell of 80 years! This after an exciting shootoff for gold with Italy's Andrea Benelli. When asked by the media after the shootoff what the silver feels like, Marko, who is also a keen hunter answered "Better than a hundred rabbits".
2008 Beijing Olympics. Satu Mäkelä-Nummela (trap) wins for Finland its first Olympic gold ever in shotgun. A classic quiz question is nowadays: "Which Olympic gold medal has been won wearing jeans?"
2016 Rio Olympics. Mens double trap is for the last time an Olympic event. Last gold medallist is Fehaid Aldeehani (Independent Olympic Athlete).