USA Shooting is proud to announce Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) and Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) as the 2011 USAS Athletes of the Year. Both athletes have risen above the rest and have handfuls of hardware as a result of their impressive performances on the international and national scene in 2011. Moreover, Uptagrafft and Rhode are the male and female athletes of their respective disciplines.
Rhode, a Women’s Skeet athlete, is the reigning Female Athlete of the Year and has held the prestigious title for the past four years. “I’m honored to be selected as Female Athlete of the Year. I’m training hard and looking forward to the 2012 Olympic Games,” said an elated Rhode. After a fifth place finish at the ISSF World Cup Chile, Rhode won a gold medal in Sydney, securing her U.S. Olympic Team nomination (pending approval by the USOC). Rhode’s won another medal at the ISSF World Cup in Beijing-a silver medal from the range where she won her 2008 Olympic silver medal.
Back stateside, Rhode etched her name yet again in the Sizemore trophy with another National Championship title. She concluded the year with a bronze medal at the ISSF World Clay Target Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, and her first ISSF World Cup Final gold medal in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. “This is an exciting time for me,” said Rhode. “I’m honored to receive this Athlete of the Year award and appreciate the support of my great sponsors who share in this honor with me.” Rhode is well on her way to achieving her next goal of accomplishing five individual Olympic medals in five consecutive Olympic Games. If she accomplishes that feat, she will add her name to the history books yet again.