When Suzy Balogh won the women’s trapshooting event at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, she became the first female Australian shooting gold medallist in history. Born in Queanbeyan, NSW, she started competing in clay target shooting when she was 15 - and at the age of 16 became the youngest woman to win the awkwardly named but prestigious Women’s Australian Down the Line Clay Target High Gun title. She has represented Australia in four disciplines of clay target shooting: Down the Line, American Skeet, Double Trap and Olympic Trap.
Balogh, ranked No. 20 in the world and making her first Olympic appearance, was regarded as an underdog at the Athens Games. She coped best with the strong, gusting winds that buffeted the Markopoulo range, sending the orange clay pigeons leaping and diving in unpredictable directions. “I was hoping we’d have a bit of wind and a bit of rain to bring the scores back to me,” she joked. “Maybe a few targets were blown back to me.” She led the field after the first 75 targets, then missed only three of the last 25, to win gold with 88 points - ahead of Spain’s Maria Quintanal (84) and the Korean Lee Bo Na (83).
Balogh’s path to gold in Athens was hardly easy. Living in Orange, which is without an international standard shooting range, she drove four hours to Sydney most weekends to train. After her win she sent heartfelt thanks to “all the people who have let me stay in their spare rooms.”
Eight years later she returned to Olympic competition at the London 2012 Games, finishing sixth in the women’s trap.
Harry Gordon, AOC Historian