In our series on women of the Olympic shooting team, we are honored that Kim Rhode, who competes in skeet and trap, took time from her busy schedule to answer our questions. She is the first U.S. Olympian to win 5 medals in 5 consecutive Olympic Games, and currently holds 25 international competitive medals.
Kim continues to make news, even when she’s not competing. Take, for example, her recent announcement that she will be shooting a Beretta shotgun in the next Olympics. And you may read about why she decided to go public with her opinion of gun control and the Second Amendment during last fall’s political season below.
The WON: Kim, first of all, we were so proud to see that you took your 5th medal (skeet) at last year’s Olympics. How was London different than the other Olympics, other than the location and the fact that you became the first American with individual medals in five Olympics in a row?
Kim Rhode: The London Olympics was very compact and the Olympic village was smaller and quieter, which made it easier to get around and see things. Winning my 5th medal really helped to highlight the shooting sports. An interesting fact that many people may not realize is that shooting is the 3rd largest event in the Olympics.
The WON: Also, congrats on the birth of your first child. What are you plans for taking a maternity leave – from the range, shooting and business?
Kim Rhode: My son was born the middle of May and I’m back training everyday. I did have a difficult pregnancy and a difficult recovery but I’m definitely feeling better now. I have started a regular daily training routine and doing some traveling for my sponsors.
The WON: Do you have any projects that you hoped to start (or finish) while on maternity leave?
Kim Rhode: Better organizing my home was a project that I thought would help me once Carter was born. I need to have time for my family (son, Carter and husband, Mike,) my career, training and sponsors. It’s a lot to juggle.
The WON: When you come back to train after the birth of your baby, how do you see that running? Full force back into it, or will you work back into it gradually?
Kim Rhode: I schedule my training on a daily basis. I started out slow and have advanced to shooting about 300 to 400 targets a day now. I will eventually step that up more to 500 to 1000 rounds a day.
The WON: What do you want to tell young women in this country about the shooting sports?
Kim Rhode: The shooting sports are a lot of fun. There are many disciplines of shooting so you can find one that appeals to you. You would have the opportunity to travel the world!
The WON: Do you see the shooting sports as a great equalizer?
Kim Rhode: It’s one of the sports that both men and women can compete equally. It just isn’t how big your muscles are, it’s eye-hand and mental coordination that make a good shooter.
The WON: We heard about your penchant for classic cars and first-edition children’s books. Which of the books will you read to your son someday and why?
Kim Rhode: I have a collection of about 12 or so, old classic model A’s, a model T and a 1965 AC Shelby Cobra. Cars have been an interest of mine since I began to drive. I developed an interest in children’s books from traveling around the U.S. I definitely plan to read Carter some of the old favorites such as “The Giving Tree” and “The Wizard of OZ.” The characters represent good family values, things like the courage of the cowardly lion.
The WON: When you appeared at the GOP Convention last summer, with other US athletes from the Olympic team, it really was the first time we remember seeing this endorsement. What did this mean to you? Why were you willing to go political at this time?
Kim Rhode: I was honored to be invited to speak at the GOP Convention and felt it was important to lend my voice both to the campaign and more broadly, to the issue of gun control. Like all Americans, and people worldwide, my heart breaks for all families who have suffered the loss of a loved one to any sort of violence. Unfortunately, I believe that far too often “guns” are inappropriately blamed. I’ve spent my entire life with a gun in my hands, a tradition that was passed on to me from prior generations and a tradition that I’m in the process of passing on to my son right now. The shooting sports have created a world of incredible opportunities for me, my family and countless others. Through shooting, hunting and the outdoors I have spent countless hours of quality family time, learned important life lessons and developed what I believe to be strong, wholesome values and a deep respect for life. I’m not alone in this regard, not by a long shot. The shooting sports and gun owners need more positive role models and I’m honored to be a part of that.
The WON: How can people follow you?
Read about other Olympians:
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