Liz Bark knows about shooting under pressure.
After all, she was the youngest member of the Maryland State Junior Shooting Team to participate in the NRA National Air Rifle Championships in Alabama last month.
The 2012 Arbutus Middle School graduate picked up a gun for the first time just two years ago. Despite her quick success, she knows she has much to learn to achieve her goal of becoming an Olympian.
The 13-year-old remembers little about watching the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, as she was only 9 at the time. But she plans to soak in every moment of the broadcast of this year's competition, especially the shooting events.
"It's probably going to take me through what it's like when I'm actually there," said Liz, who shot her personal best score to finish second on the state team and 60th out of 109 at the NRA championships.
The shooting events at the London Olympics start July 28 and run through Aug. 6.
"I can pick up the pressure in the face of the shooters," Liz said, noting she will also learn how well Olympians score.
Though her main goal is learning some competition tips, Bark has a particular interest in the performance of Matt Emmons, who will compete in the 10-meter air rifle and 50-meter three-position rifle.
Emmons, 31, lost his chance for a second gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens when he fired at the wrong target on his final shot in 50-meter three-position rifle final, according to TeamUSA.org.
The New Jersey resident received a score of zero, dropping him to eighth place, the website stated.
Emmons won a silver medal in the prone position of the 50-meter rifle event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, according to the website.
"I think it would make him feel better," Liz said of winning the gold this year. "He's a good shooter."
Emmons will shoot for the gold on July 30 when he competes in the 10-meter air rifle event and on Aug. 6 in the 50-meter three-position rifle event.
While watching the shooting competition, Liz will finally know how her parents feel.
"It's a little like watching paint dry," said Liz's mother, Mary Claire Bark. "It's a little bit of a difficult sport to watch. You can't talk or gesture. If you do talk, it has to be very softly so as not to disturb."
Since they'll watch the shooting events on TV, the Bark family will be able to cheer as loud as they want.
In addition to watching shooting, Liz plans to check out the swimming and volleyball events.
Shooting is her true love, though, and Liz hopes that the sport becomes more popular as she takes in lessons.
"I look forward to learning new things from the Olympics and that the sport gets out there," she said.