This has been quite a journey! Olympic double trap and skeet shooter Kim Rhode has been competing since the 1996 Atlanta Games — and has no plans to retire.
Rhode has already racked up quite a collection of medals — gold in 1996 and 2004 in double trap, bronze in 2000 in double trap as well and then a silver skeet medal in 2008 followed by her most recent skeet gold medal in 2012. Her record makes her the first individual American athlete to earn a medal in five consecutive Olympic Games, and she is current training for her sixth this summer, which will be held in Rio. She also set an Olympic record in 2012, tying the world record of hitting 99 of 100 targets.
“I think I’m only one of three in the world to have gone to six consecutive Olympics in an individual sport and medal, and if I go a sixth time I’ll be one of the few, or only. No pressure, right?” Rhode tells Us Weekly. “I was 16 when I went to my first Olympics and it’s just incredible how it just seems like yesterday, like one right after the other.”
Shooting is known for being open to all ages — the oldest Olympian, Oscar Swahn, was a 72-year-old Swedish man who competed in the event in 1920 — and Rhode, who is now 36, has no intention of stopping after Rio.
“I’m not calling it quits,” she says. “I’m definitely going to keep continuing. This isn’t my last Olympics. I’m not looking to retire. That’s the great thing about shooting, I still have time.”
And while there may be many more Olympic Games left in the first woman to win three gold medals in Olympic shooting, there is one Game that will always be her favorite: the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
“The first [was my favorite]. It’s hard to beat your first in anything, you know?” she explains. “It’s like your first baby, your first house, your first dance. You always remember that. I was lucky enough that it was in my home country, so yeah, it was incredible, it was awesome.”
Speaking of babies, Rhode shares another unique Olympic feat with another athlete, Kerri Walsh Jennings (who is going into her fifth Games) — being pregnant during the London Games in 2012.
“I came home from London and I was helping a friend with a wedding and she was talking about having a baby and they were talking about the different little things that you have when you get sick, the symptoms, and I was like, ‘You know, check, check.’ And I was like, ‘Maybe this isn’t fatigue from doing all this stuff. Maybe this is a little more,’” the now-mom of son Carter, 2, says. “I went down that day and discovered that I was pregnant. So I went back to my husband [Michael Harryman] and we were kind of just like, ‘Wow.’ And we were super excited, and then it kind of went from there to trying to pick out a name and everything that follows.”
And her son is already following in his mom’s footsteps.
“He’s really taking to it and of course we have the squirt guns and all the little cool stuff, but with all that it’s just time, but I can’t wait,” she explains, adding it’s still a few years until he shoots an actual gun.
“I think [we’ll wait until] he realizes and understands death, that it’s not a toy. And I think you have to judge that with every kid,” she says. “I know for me I was like 7, like 6 or 7, when I got my first time by myself, like with my parents kind of standing a little bit away. But I think every kid is different. He’ll probably be around 6 or 7. I mean, he’s already been out at the range every day with me, but he hasn’t shot yet.”
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Olympics begin on August 5 on NBC’s networks.
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