Kim Rhode has made history by becoming the first U.S. competitor and first woman to win medals in sixth consecutive summer Olympic Games. It's only been done once before, in the Winter Games.
Although not necessarily one of the high-visibility glamour events perhaps, Rhode won a bronze in yesterday's skeet shooting competition at the Rio Olympics. She won her first medal, a gold, in the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Rhode captured the bronze after an intense shoot-off with China's Meng Wei at the Olympic Shooting Center.
"It's a stunning accomplishment from Rhode, who becomes the first female Olympian to medal in six consecutive games, and the first summer Olympian as well. Only Italian luger Armin Zoeggeler has done it on the men's side," USA TODAY explained. "Rhode's Olympic history has been nothing short of dominant. She won gold in the 1996 Games in double trap at the age of 17, then followed up with bronze in Sydney, gold in Athens, silver in Beijing, and then gold in London."
Southern California resident Rhode, 37, plans to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games for Team USA in the year 2020 and even has her eye on 2024 if Los Angeles winds up as the host city. "The act of shooting requires fewer physical attributes, extending Olympic lifespans," NBC Olympics observed.In recent years, she has had overcome some serious personal health challenges such as a difficult pregnancy and gall bladder surgery, as well as illnesses among her family and close friends.
"As the younger shooters on the U.S. team traveled the world, sharpening their skills, winning competitions she used to dominate, Rhode struggled to walk around the block. Back on the range, her strength returned slowly," the Los Angeles Times recalled.
Upon winning the bronze medal in Rio, Rhode told Fox Sports that "It doesn't matter if it's the gold, silver or the bronze. It's the journey and my journey this time was very, very challenging and as you can tell, very emotional. I'm still emotional."
Prior to her Olympic medal win in Rio, Kim Rhode weighed in on gun control and gun rights in an interview with Time.
"The Second Amendment was put in there not just so we can go shoot skeet or go shoot trap. It was put in so we could defend our First Amendment, the freedom of speech, and also to defend ourselves against our own government."She also suggested in the Time exchange that the media seems to attach a stigma to competitive shooting as it relates or doesn't relate to the ongoing gun control debate.
"When you are talking to a NASCAR driver, they're not asked to comment on an incident that occurred with a vehicle."
Rhode described the San Bernardino terrorist attack as heartbreaking tragedy but one that apparently provides further justification for law-abiding citizens to carry firearms.That stigma apparently prevents Olympic shooters like Kim Rhode from receiving lucrative corporate sponsorships (apart from a few gun manufacturers) from which other medalists benefit.
"Will we see Rhode on a box of Wheaties? Most likely not. The shooting sports are no different than any other sport and the qualities of shooting champions are the same qualities we value from other great athletes: dedication, determination and hard work," PJ Media insisted.
"The big mystery is how someone like Kim isn't part of the Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and the Olympics sponsor push. It would be nice to have an Olympic sponsor recognize the magnitude of her accomplishment,'' Kim Rhode's agent commented on the situation according to Bloomberg News.
Kim Rhode also chided the new, stricter California gun control regulations enacted after San Bernardino.
"I shoot 500 to 1,000 rounds a day, so having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo, or every time I want to bring ammo in or out of a competition or a match, those are very challenging for me. Also, I've had guns in my family for generations that have been passed down, and now I'm going to register them as assault weapons... It definitely does effect me and gives me a reason to speak out more."She revealed to the Guardian that she supports Donald Trump for president, in part because of his strong support for the Second Amendment, the right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution to keep and bear arms. She acknowledged that electing a female president "would be incredible, just not Hillary."
"She also startled a French reporter when she told him that she has her three-year-old son in youth programs with the National Rifle Association," the Guardian added about Olympic medalist Kim Rhode.
[Photo by Hassan Ammar/AP Images]