Three-time US Olympic medallist Lt. Colonel Lones W. Wigger, Jr. passed away on the 14th December.
Lt.Col. Wigger joined the US Army in 1960 and represented his country at the Olympics on five occasions, winning three medals: two gold and one silver between 1964 and 1980. Wigger won his first Olympic gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in the 50m rifle three positions category scoring a record-breaking 1,164 points out of a possible 1,200. He also won a silver medal at Tokyo in the 50m prone.
According to USA Shooting during his long shooting career, Wigger was a “24-time World Champion, 33-time world-record holder, and 91-time National Champion.” He also won another Olympic gold at Munich in 1972 in the 300m free rifle. He also set 29 world records.
Here’s a young Lt. Wigger appearing on a 1965 episode of I’ve Got a Secret:
2012 Olympic champion Jamie Corkish said Lt. Col. Wigger was “a true legend. He not only was an amazing shooter in his Olympic career, but he continued to win long after his International retirement. What a true champion, mentor, friend and legend.”
Part of the US Army’s Marksmanship Unit he was inducted into the Army Shooting Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Olympic Hall of Fame in 2008. In February 2017, USA Shooting honoured Wigger, naming an Endowment & Legacy Project “to support youth and Junior Olympic initiatives” after him.
Wigger’s daughter Deena followed in her father’s footsteps competing at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Wigger had been suffering from pancreatic cancer and passed away at his home in Colorado, aged 80.