Feeling the pressure: Russell and Lauryn Mark.

Lauryn feels the heat


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Aussie Olympic shooter Lauryn Mark broke down during a practice shoot in the lead-up to the opening of the London games.

Citing stress brought on by a number of factors, she walked off the range to recover her composure.

Lauryn has been under emormous pressure not only because of the impending Olympic competition, but because of controversy around the Australian Olympic Committee’s ban on she and husband Russell Mark sharing the same quarters at the Olympic village.

She was reportedly also upset that columnist Eddie McGuire had condemned her recent photo spread in Zoo magazine, where she posed in a bikini.

She said she admire McGuire, while the writer offered his criticism apparently without even seeing the photos.

McGuire wrote that she had appeared “in what sounds like a soft-port photo shoot”.

Russell Mark has also come under fire from the gay community, who felt they’d been vilified by his complaint that gay couples were permitted to bunk together at the Olympics while he and Lauryn weren’t.

Russell tried to clarify the point that he was being critical of the AOC’s bid to separate athletes based on gender, a far cry from attacking homosexuals. He said he had not meant to offend anyone.

Some critics in the gay community did not seem to realise Lauryn is an Olympian.

All the controversy is the last thing the athletes need with the Olympics due to open in days.

Lauryn is due to compete in women’s skeet on Sunday, while Russell will line up in the men’s double trap on Thursday next week.

They are not the only Olympic shooters facing difficulties.

Emirates Airlines refused to allow Iraq’s only Olympic shooter, Aamer Jassim, to take her pistol to London.

As she tried to board a flight from Baghdad to Dubai, the crew told her she would have to leave her gun behind, and it was confiscated. Aamer travelled without it, but Emirates later relented and sent it on to her.

Malaysia’s Suryani Mohd Taibi says she is tired of the media attention focussed on her as she prepares to compete while eight months pregnant.

Only four women have competed while pregnant in Olympic history, none as far into their term as Suryani.

She announced she would no longer give interviews and plans to hold one press conference before she shoots in the first event of the London games, the women’s 10m air rifle.


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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