If you want to see the future of shooting sports, read this interview with Amanda Furrer – a 50-meter, three-position rifle shooter on the U.S. Olympic team. She tells us what it was like to compete in her first Olympics last summer, and about what her aspirations are for the future. You’ll smile and you’ll just feel good, knowing that there’s this much energy and enthusiasm, combined with common sense, in one young woman.
WON: Please will you tell our readers where you live and what you do when you’re not training for the Olympics?
Amanda: I was born and raised in Spokane, Wash, but am currently living in Columbus, Ohio, where I go to school at Ohio State. So, when I’m not training full time, I have my nose buried in the books (for now anyway). I am planning on graduating this spring, so hopefully I can get back to training full time after that through the next Olympics. I am also really big on health and fitness, and I wouldn’t necessarily count that as part of my training, but more something I enjoy. I don’t have a lot of time outside training and school right now, but anytime I do get off, I try to spend as much of it as I can with my family and close friends. I am very spontaneous and adventurous so I always find myself taking up new hobbies. These hobbies have included music, dance, kickboxing, yoga, and many, many more.
The WON: I see where you qualified for the U.S. National Team at age 16! Wow! How’d you get started shooting?
Amanda: I started shooting when I was 11. The only reason I got into it was because my sister used to shoot for a local junior rifle club that my dad coached and I wanted to do everything she did. I used to practice all over the house. We had a place I could shoot in the garage, the basement, and upstairs from one bedroom to another. I always had equipment scattered all over the house. I used to shoot a lot, and I still do, but when I was in middle school and high school, there were days I would shoot before school and after school, as well as on the weekends. I’ve always been extremely dedicated, and of course there were bumps along the way, but I always overcame my struggles and pushed forward to become better. I tried for years to make the Junior National Development Team; it was all I ever dreamed of. I was blessed to jump straight onto the National Team, though, when I was 16 and got my chance to compete in the Pan American Games in Brazil where I won a bronze medal! Once I made the National Team, there was no stopping me from chasing bigger dreams.
The WON: Please will you tell us about your experience as a competitor in London this past summer? What did you do well and what will you be working to improve?
Amanda: Shooting in the London Olympics was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I was really nervous the day before, but when I woke up for my match, I was ready to go. It was the same thing I’ve done a thousand times before. I was happy with the way I performed, but it can always be better. I have a few different things I need to work on in my shooting positions and mental approach and those will take priority in my training over the next few years.
The WON: This was your first Olympics, right? What instantly burned a memory in your mind?
Amanda: This was my first Olympics. It seems like everything kind of melted together over those few weeks. There was so much going on the entire time! I was just focused on getting through my competition and then soaking everything else in. The most poignant moment from the beginning was walking into opening ceremonies. That was the moment that we were no longer the USA Shooting Team, USA Swimming Team, USA Basketball Team, or any other singular sports team. From then on, we were one team, Team USA. We were the best of the best from the United States in each of our own disciplines, and we were all equal. I have to say, though, there are no memories from the Olympics that won’t forever be a special moment to me. I made a lot of friends in almost every sport that I will continue to be in contact with as we work toward our goals.
The WON: When is your next competition?
Amanda: I’m not exactly sure when my next big competition will be … I am taking things easy this year as I finish up my last year at school. I will be competing at some of the USA Shooting national matches, but not sure which ones or when yet. I might throw in an international match as well; it all depends on my schedule as spring approaches! I love what I do and can never stay out of competition for long.
The WON: I see that you are studying finance. Do you want to work in the shooting industry? Thoughts?
Amanda: I have actually just recently switched my major to economics! I plan on getting my Master’s degree while I train for the next Olympics as well. I would love to work in the shooting industry if an opportunity presented itself. After all, I’ve dedicated half my life to the sport already! My dream would be to collaborate with established shooting gun/gear companies and create my own line of shooting accessories. Maybe even design some stuff specifically for female shooters, anything girly is my specialty.
The WON: Also, I see that you are on the rifle shooting team at Ohio State. Wow! Are there many women on that team and what’s your competition schedule like there?
Amanda: There are a few of us girls on the Ohio State Rifle Team! We have a blast shooting and traveling together. I’m actually red-shirting this year, meaning I’m on the team, but not competing. I needed a year off to focus on my studies after taking time off to train full time in Colorado last year. Shooting for Ohio State has been such a fabulous opportunity for me. The support that comes from the school and athletic department is incredible.
The WON: Do you outshoot the boys? 😉
Amanda: I don’t want to beat up on the boys, but our girls do a pretty good job at Ohio State. 🙂 We all enjoy each other’s company and spend a ton of time together. We have a great team!
The WON: What would you tell young girls who might be thinking of the shooting sports. How can they get started?
Amanda: For young girls that are thinking of getting into shooting sports … do it! Shooting is so often posed as a men’s sport, but there are tons of girls that do it. The funny thing is that a lot of us are girly girls, too! We have so much fun shooting together and spending time together outside of the range. There are college scholarship opportunities, as well as the chance to make it to the Olympics like I did.
When I first started shooting, I would have never even dreamed that I could make an Olympic Team. Learning to shoot is a good way to keep yourself safe, as well as have fun! For me, the competition is the best part. My best friends are other girls that shoot and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Almost everyone I know in the shooting sports got started through a local junior shooting club. You can find lists of clubs here on the USA Shooting website.
The WON: And, when you’re not shooting or practicing or thinking about the next match, what do you like to do as a hobby?
Amanda: As I mentioned before, outside of shooting, I am big into health and fitness. I love to do anything outdoors, work out, and try new healthy food recipes! I also love four-wheeling, spending time with friends and family, and hanging out at the lake on the boat! I love to try new things. I also take off on random trips around the country a lot! If you follow me on Twitter (@amanda_furrer) or Facebook (Amanda Furrer), you can keep up with all of my crazy adventures!
Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. She is a contributing editor at "SHOT Business," and her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications, including NRA, NSSF and Field & Stream. View all posts by Barbara Baird