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G&F Interview: Olympic Champion Kim Rhode Does a "Little Bit" of Shooting

G&F Interview: Olympic Champion Kim Rhode Does a "Little Bit" of Shooting
With five Olympics medals, Kim Rhode is planning her attack for 2016. Photo courtesy Kim Rhode.

As the first American to win medals in an individual event in five consecutive Olympics, Kim Rhode is a force to be reckoned with. While many people are familiar with the ins and outs of her wildly successful career, there are some things that might surprise you.

For instance, she shoots 500 to 1,000 rounds at target practice seven days a week, and she just had a baby! Also, you might not have guessed that at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, the game of choice was Wii Olympics.

I caught up with Kim at the range, and then the Beretta booth at SHOT Show, where she filled me on her exercise routine, goals for 2014, and more.


G&F: What got you into skeet shooting; do you have a hunting background?


Kim Rhode: Hunting was a big part of my family, something that was passed down generationally. My grandfather was a houndsman who taught my mom and my dad, who then taught me, so I definitely grew up with hunting. From there I moved forward into club shoots, state shoots, and eventually found my way to the Olympics, and now five Olympics later here I am.

Facing Challenge Head-On

"I had my event eliminated in 2004. I was competing in Double Trap and I was forced to switch events. That was probably one of the most challenging things in my career, going into another sport, especially at the Olympic level. It was like starting all over again. It's something that isn't always easy especially when you're at the top of your game."

Photo by Ron Sinfelt

2012 Olympics

"In 2012 and in 2008 we were playing Wii Olympics at the Olympics. It was awesome, and we were all so sore, from swimming and shooting and all these different games, that we had to ban the Wii before our matches because we were so burnt out."

Photo courtesy Kim Rhode

\"We're All Equal Out There\"

"It is fantastic though, I'm not going to lie, to go out there and beat the boys, just as much as they like to beat the girls. But it's a lot of fun, the guys are always willing to teach you, help you, and I think that's what makes the sport so great. Even though it is about shooting and guns, we're still all equal out there."

Photo courtesy Kim Rhode

Goals for 2014

When asked about her goals for 2014, Rhode said, "Making the team, hitting the quota, earning the amount of points you need for the Olympic team. Those are the most immediate right now, as well as working out all the fine tuning of the gun fit, all the little subtle things that go into building for the Olympics. Eliminating those fears, as I like to say."

Photo by Ron Sinfelt

Score of 99

On July 29, at the 2012 London Olympics, Kim Rhode won the gold medal for skeet shooting with a score of 99, tying the world record.

Photo by Ron Sinfelt

The Sky's the Limit

When asked what advice she has for women hunters and shooters, Rhode said, "The best advice I can give is to just go out and get started. Ask questions, don't be afraid. The sky's the limit, really. There are so many different sports and places that you can shoot in the world."

Photo courtesy Kim Rhode

\"Just a Little Bit of Shooting\"

"I'm averaging right now between 500 and 1,000 rounds a day in full training and I'm doing that seven days a week. I think they had me estimated at between three and five million rounds in my lifetime. Just a little bit of shooting."

Photo courtesy Kim Rhode

G&F: That's amazing. So what's it like competing in a predominantly male sport?

KW: I don't really think of it as male or female. That's the great thing about shooting, it doesn't matter your size, your stature. Men and women can truly compete on an equal playing field. It is fantastic though, I'm not going to lie, to go out there and beat the boys, just as much as they like to beat the girls. But it's a lot of fun, the guys are always willing to teach you, help you, and I think that's what makes the sport so great. Even though it is about shooting and guns, we're still all equal out there.

G&F: Do you have any advice to women hunters and shooters in general?

KR: Go out to the range, you'd be surprised at how many people are willing to help you, and how nice everyone is. I think that's one of the wonderful things about the shooting sports, everyone says good morning, good night, good day, do you have any questions? People are so generous. The best advice I can give is to just go out and get started. Ask questions, don't be afraid. The sky's the limit, really. There are so many different sports and places that you can shoot in the world.

G&F: What are some of the major challenges that you've faced along the way to where you are now?

KR: Well I had my event eliminated in 2004. I was competing in Double Trap and I was forced to switch events. That was probably one of the most challenging things in my career, going into another sport, especially at the Olympic level. It was like starting all over again. It's something that isn't always easy especially when you're at the top of your game.

G&F: That sounds rough, I can't even imagine.

KR: Yeah, it was definitely a challenge, but I think that's what the Olympics is about, overcoming obstacles when everyone says that you can't. Continuing with the drilling, making it feel as easy as walking, trying to do the best you can, and seeing what happens.

G&F: Can you tell me about your exercise routine? 

KR: McDonalds . . . no, I'm teasing. That's one of the great things about shooting, it really is whatever you want it to be. It comes down to your hand-eye coordination, your muscle memory, your eyesight, things like that. It's being able to take in the little things, like in golf, you must know about your surroundings, the wind, the weather, and adding all those up to make that perfect score.

But the reality is you have to have some training, some endurance, using the little muscles, holding the gun and everything else that adds up. There are a lot of isometrics that are involved in shooting as well as the endurance side of things with the running and standing. Then there's the hand-eye coordination, bouncing balls off of the wall, building that. Playing video games, which is really rough, I have to say.

G&F: Sounds terrible!

KR: It's tough, but those are the things that keep you sharp in the shooting world. And you'd be surprised at the muscles that you do use.

G&F: What video games do you play?

KR: Well they have to be shooting, right? I know that in 2012 and in 2008 we were playing Wii Olympics at the Olympics. It was awesome, and we were all so sore, from swimming and shooting and all these different games, that we had to ban the Wii before our matches because we were so burnt out.

G&F: I understand that you had a baby recently. How do you handle the stress of being a new mom, the lack of sleep, with everything else that's going on?

KR: Sleep is such a foreign word to me right now. It's been incredible. Being a mom is my greatest achievement ever. My son is so much fun, he's growing every day and it's exciting to see, what is he going to do today? It is a challenge, but like everything else you do in life, you find ways around it. You do it to your fullest extent and I love it.

I'm so blessed to have such an amazing family and support from my husband. That's one thing about the Olympics, you don't do it all on your own. So you take a lot of help, a lot of support from other people. With my son I'm so blessed to have that and to have so many incredible people in my life to help me with that process, because I think he'll be that much better for it.

G&F: So what are your goals for 2014?

KR: Making the team, hitting the quota, earning the amount of points you need for the Olympic team. Those are the most immediate right now, as well as working out all the fine tuning of the gun fit, all the little subtle things that go into building for the Olympics. Eliminating those fears, as I like to say.

G&F: Can you tell me what you're shooting in the next Olympics?

KR: I'm shooting a DT11 Beretta over and under 12-gauge shotgun. I'm shooting with a Chuck Dietl vest, Pilla glasses, and lots and lots of targets and ammo, that kind of stuff.

G&F: How many targets?

KR: I'm averaging right now between 500 and 1,000 rounds a day in full training and I'm doing that seven days a week. I think they had me estimated at between three and five million rounds in my lifetime. Just a little bit of shooting.

What's your favorite gun for skeet shooting? Share with us in the comments!

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