Former University of Alaska Fairbanks shooter Dan Jordan claimed a silver medal in his three events at the 2004 Paralympics last week in Athens, Greece.
Jordan, at 25 the youngest shooter in the competition, took second place to Sweden's Jonas Jacobsson in the small-bore three-position rifle event on Sept. 21. Jacobsson's winning score of 1,261.1 points broke the world record previously held by Jordan, who shot a score of 1,253.5 last Tuesday. Doron Shaziri of Israel took the bronze medal with a score of 1,243.8.
"I am really happy with everything," Jordan said in a press release from U.S. Paralympics.
"It was a tough day against really tough competition. I fought hard in the qualifying round and had to work for everything I got. I feel really good about the silver medal."
Jordan's silver medal was the first shooting medal won by an American shooter in the Paralympics since 1984. Jordan opened his competition with an eighth-place finish in the air rifle event on Sept. 19 and closed it with a seventh-place finish in the small-bore rifle prone event on Sept. 23.
"Dan has worked so hard and it was evident today," U.S. coach Dan Durben said in a release. "He battled out there all day long and that's where his hard work comes in. He puts in the time and knows what it takes to be successful."
Jordan became the second former UAF shooter in just over a month to medal in a major international competition. During the Olympics in August, former UAF shooter Matt Emmons won a gold medal in the small-bore rifle prone event and had a chance to win a second gold medal before a rare crossfire dropped him to eighth place in the three-position event.
A Nanook shooter in 1998 and 1999, Jordan helped the UAF rifle team start its current streak of six straight NCAA Championships. But he was paralyzed from the waist down in a rock-climbing accident after his sophomore season. Jordan stayed in Fairbanks to finish his degree and coach the West Valley High School rifle team, then moved back home to Colorado so he could train for the Paralympics.
Two other athletes with Alaska ties competed in the Paralympics, both in the seven-a-side soccer competition for people with cerebral palsy or a traumatic brain injury. Keith Johnson of Anchorage was the goalkeeper for the U.S. team, while Jason Slemons of Seattle was a substitute wing. Both Johnson (1998) and Slemons (1999) graduated from East Anchorage High School. The U.S. team went 0-3 in round-robin pool play, then lost 4-0 to Ireland in the game for seventh and eighth places.
The only other known Alaskan to compete in a Paralympics competition was Joe Tompkins of Juneau, who competed with the U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Team in the 2002 Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tompkins, a monoskier who was paralyzed from the back down in a 1986 car wreck, currently is training for the 2006 Paralympics in Torino, Italy.