Margaret Murdock

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Margaret Murdock
Margaret Murdock, Lanny Bassham and Werner Seibold 1976.jpg
Murdock (left) and Bassham at the 1976 Olympics
Personal information
Birth nameMargaret L. Thompson
Born (1942-08-25) August 25, 1942 (age 76)
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.[1]
ResidenceTopeka, Kansas
Height163 cm (5 ft 4 in)
Weight73 kg (161 lb)
Event(s)Small-bore rifle
University teamKansas State University
ClubU.S. Army Reserve
RetiredAt age 35[2]
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals1976 Montreal

Margaret Thompson Murdock (born August 25, 1942) is a nurse and former United States Army officer most widely known for her success in international shooting competitions, including a silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

Murdock is the first woman to win a medal in Shooting at the Summer Olympics and the first to win an individual open World Shooting Championship.[2] In international competition Murdock set four individual world records and nine team world records.[2] She is a member of five halls of fame, including the USA Shooting Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.[2]

Early years[edit]

Margaret L. Thompson was born August 25, 1942 in Topeka, Kansas.[3] While growing up during the 1950s, she learned how to shoot by following her father to the rifle range.[2]

She graduated from Hayden High School,[2] then attended Kansas State University, where she competed on the men's rifle team[4] winning two Big Eight Conference championships and became the university's first female student to earn a varsity letter.[2] The team practiced with 5th Army Rifle Team at Fort Riley, which led to a four-year stint in the U.S. Army, where she was assigned as a shooting instructor at Fort Benning, eventually achieving the rank of major.[2]


Murdock was the 1966 World Champion in Women's Standard Rifle.[5] In 1967 she won two gold medals in small-bore rifle at the Pan American Games and set a world record, for men or women, in the kneeling rifle shooting.[1]

Murdock narrowly missed qualifying for the 1968 games in Mexico City.[2] She became the first woman ever on the U.S. Olympic shooting team (in 1976) and the first woman to win a medal in shooting at the Olympic Games.[4] She won a silver medal that year, after tying with Lanny Bassham, the U.S. team captain.[4] Olympic rules forbade a shoot-off, which Bassham had requested.[4] During the national anthem, Bassham pulled Murdock up to stand with him on the gold medal spot at the podium.[4] In 1992 she was named to the U.S. International Shooting Hall of Fame.[4]

Post-competition career[edit]

Murdock retired from competitive shooting at age 35,[2] becoming a registered nurse, specializing in anesthesia.[3]


  1. ^ a b Margaret Murdock.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "No. 5: Murdock didn't miss upon getting her shot". The Topeka Capital-Journal. August 26, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  3. ^ a b "Murdock, Margaret L. (Thompson)". Sports Biographies. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, Nolan (June 18, 2010). "20 Inspirational Female Athletes Who Won In a "Man's Sport"". Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  5. ^ "U.S. Markswoman Wins Silver, Nearly the Gold". Los Angeles Times. July 22, 1976. p. D8. Retrieved 2009-11-29.