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Six Olympics and likely out for Mark
By Jordan Chong
23:43 AEST Thu Aug 2 2012

When Russell Mark cast his 48-year-old eyes to the London sky in search of good news, he found little to smile about.

For instead of the bright, sunny skies he'd hoped for and generally experienced in at his previous five Olympics, all he saw were the clouds of a typically overcast British day.

The 1996 gold medallist was keen to give the Australian shooting team a much-needed boost to it's so-far lean Olympic campaign at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

But it was not to be as he struggled to pick out the targets rapidly in the overcast conditions and finished 20th in the double trap, his worst Games result since his debut in Seoul 24 years ago.

While Mark, who also won silver in Sydney 2000, says he is technically the same shooter he was in Seoul, he concedes time has taken its toll.

"The reality is I am 48 and it is a lot harder to see them now, particularly when it is dull," Mark said.

"It's not an excuse, that's the reality of it for me these days.

"Young eyes, you can't get around that I'm afraid."

Mark indicated he was unlikely to go on to a seventh Olympics in Rio in 2016.

His six Games is equal with four other Australians, London teammate Michael Diamond, sailor Colin Beashel and rower James Tomkins.

Only equestrian rider Andrew Hoy stands above them, with London his seventh Summer Olympics.

"I haven't got any expectations to get to another Olympic Games," Mark said.

Mark said whether he attempts a run for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in two years time will depend on the outcome of proposed rule changes due to be announced in November.

The sport is looking at adding to the difficulty by launching the targets from random sites, rather than the same two.

"If they make it so you won't know where the pairs are coming from, old guys like me that's the end of the road," Mark said.

"That will really turn it into a young person's sport."

Although his request to room with wife and fellow Australian shooter Lauryn Mark in the athletes' village - which was denied - attracted plenty of media attention and comment prior to the competition, Mark said it had no impact on his preparations in London.

"That would be a weak excuse for me to use that," Mark said.

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