When Michael Diamond won the Olympic men’s trap gold medal in Atlanta in 1996, he became the first Australian to win a shooting event at the Games since Donald Mackintosh potted more live pigeons than any rival at the 1900 Paris Games. Diamond, a third-generation Greek-Australian from Goulburn, hit 149 clay targets out of a possible 150 to win the trap shoot. With nerveless poise he broke 25 targets out of 25 in the final, unaffected by the encouragement of a patriotic crowd for his American opponents.
By the time the Sydney Olympics arrived in 2000, Diamond had won the world trap and double trap championships. Again he made history, and consolidated his place within the pantheon of great marksmen, winning back-to-back gold. Only one trap shooter had ever done that before - Italy’s Luciano Giovenetti, who won the event in Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984). In the final, over three rounds, he hit every one of the 75 targets - small orange discs, flying at speeds of around 100km an hour from unpredictable angles. Afterwards Diamond dedicated the gold medal to his father Con, who had died four months earlier. It was Con who had introduced him to shooting, and had been his coach ever since.
Diamond finished eighth in the trap event at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In 2007 he won the world trap shooting championship in Nicosia, Cyprus. At the 2008 Beijing Games, he just missed out on a medal - beaten in a shoot-off for bronze by Russia’s Alexey Alipov.
It was a similar fate at his sixth Olympic Games. Having shot a perfect 125/125 targets heading into the final round Diamond was left to fight it out for the bronze with Kuwait’s Fehaid Aldeehana after hitting 20/25 in the final. Diamond missed first in the shoot-off and finished in fourth place.
Harry Gordon, AOC historian