Olympics: Kim Rhode shoots her way into history. Now can we remember her?
Kim Rhode won gold in the women's skeet Sunday, becoming the first American to win a gold in an individual event at five straight Olympic Games. But that's not even the best part.
London — Perhaps now, we will all have heard of Kim Rhode.
She's certainly earned it.
Before entering the London Olympics, it seemed that winning a medal in four consecutive Summer Games was not enough. So on Sunday, she went about trying to distract America from Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte by every means at her disposal.
First, she set an Olympic record in the preliminary rounds of women's skeet by successfully shooting 74 of 75 targets. In the rain. Then she won the gold medal, making her the first American ever to win a medal in an individual event in five consecutive Olympic Games. What's more, she beat a Chinese woman in the final with another olympic record score, making her the first person to beat a Chinese athlete in an Olympic shooting event since 1886. (OK, maybe it just feels like that.)
And before she ever got to London? Her dog ate her plane ticket. That is not a joke.
Seriously, folks, what more do you want from her?
Wait, there's more.
Those five consecutive medals? They're not in the same event because, after she had won two golds and a silver in the double trap (1996, 2000, 2004), the Olympics decided to can the event, perhaps just to add to her degree of difficulty. So Rhode simply won silver in the new event, skeet shooting, in Beijing. She followed that up with a gold Sunday in London. (There are rumors that Rio has also already given her a 2016 medal.)
Actually, while we're at it, let's just tell you her whole life's story, because it gets better.
When Rhode was 10, her dad took her on a big-game safari in Africa. The guides didn't want to take her along. Her dad set up a target, and she hit the bulls-eye three times. The guides relented. Rhode's dad still has a picture in his wallet of the giant kudu deer she shot on the safari, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Training since before she won gold in Atlanta as a 17 year old, Rhode estimates she shoots 500 to 1,000 rounds a day. The total cost of that ammunition over the course of her competitive life (again thanks to the math whizzes at the Times): $3.65 million.
Can we remember her name now? Kim Rhode. Please take out a piece of paper and write it down if you have to.
At every competition, she is "competing against people who have everything given to them," she said at a media event in May, noting that other top shooting countries fund their shooters. And still, she has accomplished more than any of them.
"In China," she added, "if they win, their families are taken care of for life."
She lugs all her own gear to practice at a California range. In her spare time, she builds cars. Builds them. She has 13, including a 1917 Model-T, she said. Her favorite? A Shelby Cobra she built from a kit.
Aren't famous Olympians supposed to be winning cars, not building them?
Now that's she's finally taken care of the "famous" part (we hope), will someone please give her a free Ford Tempo?
She's earned it.