With Rio in Sight, USA Shooting and Women’s Outdoor News (The WON) are launching WOW Wednesday, a bi-weekly article series that will showcase the WONderful Olympic Women that will be representing all female shooting sports enthusiasts this August and September in Rio de Janeiro.
With the number of female shooting sports enthusiasts skyrocketing, there’s no better time to become familiar with the discipline, desire and dedication that these athletes represent. We’re going to bring you their stories and give you the inside scoop as these female ambassadors take their passion for the shooting sports and try and fulfill their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.
USA Shooting is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the Olympic & Paralympic Shooting Sports. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado on-site at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the organization’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic and Paralympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S., and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country. There are 15 shooting events on the Olympic program including five each in Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun. Pistol and Rifle competition is contested using .177 caliber pellets and .22 caliber rimfire ammunition. The Paralympic program featuring athletes with disability includes 12 specific shooting events in Rifle and Pistol.
Women began competing in shooting events at the 1976 Olympic Games and U.S. women have paved an illustrious history ever since. Only once (1988) has USA Shooting not had a female Olympic medalist while racking up a combined 11 medals, including eight Olympic champions.
The present queen of the shooting sports world is Kim Rhode, who made history by winning gold in London 2012. Rhode stands alone as the only U.S. athlete competing in an individual sport to earn five Olympic medals in five consecutive Olympic Games. She’s not done yet as she is set to try and earn a sixth Olympic appearance in late May at USA Shooting’s Olympic Team Trials in Tillar, Arkansas. We’ll share more of her story later on in the series.
Recognition and appreciation of these great representatives is tough given the vast diversity of the shooting sports world. Also, these athletes compete in a sport that takes place in the shadows of a society with a deep-seated professional sports loyalty and an Olympic enthusiasm with a far greater attraction to swimmers, runners and gymnasts.
That’s where you come in. The purpose of WOW Wednesday is to genuinely connect you with the USA Shooting Team and perhaps move you to become a member or move you to go to your local range to try any one of the Olympic shooting disciplines. Bottom line, we want you to declare shooting as your Olympic sport.
Beyond the headlines, the rhetoric and constitutional battles the common thread among gun enthusiasts is that they all simply love to shoot. No matter your age, sex or ethnicity, our bond is the joy we extract by pulling a trigger whether for sport, competition, meat or simply for fun. Thus, why declaring shooting as your Olympic sport is the unifying message this year among all shooting sports fans.
This campaign is an effort to better connect with our shooting sports industry,” said USA Shooting CEO Robert Mitchell. “The Olympic year provides the opportunity to rally around, become engaged and enjoy the Olympic experience. We have a great story to tell with outstanding athletes and proven success worthy of greater recognition.
Representing a sport misunderstood, underappreciated and overlooked, USA Shooting athletes don the Red, White and Blue across this country and around the globe in pursuit of Olympic and Paralympic glory.
USA Shooting Team athletes won’t be included in the glitzy pre-Games promotions from sponsors nor the television networks, magazines and newspapers. In all likelihood you won’t find them on the primetime telecasts during the Games, nor will they be the front-page story.
The bottom line is this: Our athletes are the story. Collectively they represent everything that we love about the shooting sports. Their story can’t be told enough and as we cheer them on along their Road to Rio and beyond, we hope the shooting sports community will take the time to recognize what opportunity this next year provides to help change the narrative and to give the gun culture something to be proud of and stand behind: One Team in 2016. Go USA!