The Student Newspaper of Murray State

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Schläpfer seeks spot in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Murray State alumna Barbara Schläpfer had one of the most successful rifle careers in the program’s history. (Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics)

Josh Embry

Sports Editor

[email protected]

Murray State rifle alumna Barbara Schläpfer is vying for a spot to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Schläpfer, a native of Gais, Switzerland, graduated from Murray State in 2019 and is now working toward a master’s degree in biomedical engineering with a focus on biomechanical systems.

Along with her studies, Schläpfer has continued to sharpen her rifling skills since returning home. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has had to train in a different way.

“Unfortunately, we are not allowed to train on any range, so I have to train at home, which is called dry firing, so you are not loading any ammunition but you simulate aiming [at a] target,” Schläpfer said.

As of right now, Schläpfer has yet to earn a quota place to compete in the Olympics. Fortunately for Schläpfer, the postponement of the Olympics offers more chances for her to earn a spot to represent Switzerland in 2021.

“My country has one quota place at the moment in my category, so if I would like to go to the Olympics, I need to win my own quota,” Schläpfer said. “Next year, there are still some competitions to win one so I think the next step would be qualifying for those competitions, and then going from there.”

However, there are uncertainties regarding the competitions Schläpfer can compete in since they have been canceled to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Schläpfer said she has not been made aware of whether these events will be rescheduled or not.

Schläpfer sees both positives and negatives in postponing the Olympics for those who have been training and preparing for the last four years.

“It is obviously very difficult for those athletes who are working for [their] specific event for four years and have to readjust their time plans,” Schläpfer said. “On the other hand, it is a chance for many athletes who are maybe not quite in shape yet due to many different reasons.”

Ultimately, Schläpfer said she thinks the postponement of the Olympics to 2021 is best for everyone involved in the games.

“I think it is the right decision to make sure that athletes from all over the world can compete without some of them missing out on this important event due to possible traveling bans,” Schläpfer said. “I think this ensures equality for all countries and athletes.”

Schläpfer’s time as a Racer led to her having one of the best athletic careers in Murray State history. In her senior season, Schläpfer set multiple school records, including the top scores in air rifle (599), aggregate score (1189) and air rifle average score (594.3). Additionally, she led the nation in both regular season smallbore and air rifle average scores.

Schläpfer was named the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association Rifle Athlete of the Year as well as being named the OVC’s Air Rifle & Smallbore Athlete of the Year.

Schläpfer will look to improve on her phenomenal Racer career to represent Switzerland on the global stage.

More to Discover