WON Landing Page OCT 2022

WOW Wednesday: U.S. Women Earn Most Shooting Medals Since ‘84

The strength of U.S. women was fully on display in Rio during the Olympic shooting events.  Women shot and the world recognized with this being the first time since 1984 that three women were able to step on the podium for Team USA.  The significance of which can’t be understated as the idea to Shoot Like A Girl will forever resonate as a result of the power shown by the U.S. women in earning the only medals in the sport for Team USA.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14: (L-R) U.S. Olympians Kim Rhode, Virginia Thrasher and Corey Cogdell pose for a photo with their medals at the USA House at Colegio Sao paulo on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kim Rhode; Virginia Thrasher; Corey Cogdell

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 14: (L-R) U.S. Olympians Kim Rhode, Virginia Thrasher and Corey Cogdell pose for a photo with their medals at the USA House at Colegio Sao paulo on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

The U.S. Olympic Shooting Team left Rio having secured three prized possessions courtesy of a sport-defining Ginny Thrasher gold in Women’s Air Rifle, a repeat bronze for Corey Cogdell-Unrein in Women’s Trap and a most-historic bronze for Kim Rhode in Women’s Skeet.

For 36 hours to open the 2016 Olympic Games, Thrasher was the face of Team USA as the lone gold medalist, winning the first medal of the 2016 Olympic Games. That fact propelled her into the media spotlight while the subsequent reveal of her personality and grace made her a star.

Ginny Thrasher

Cogdell-Unrein became a powerful representation for females everywhere given her battle to get back on the podium and then by the subsequent headline misfortune giving more credit to her husband, Mitch, than the athlete actually earning the medal.  She’s handled both results with dignity and class.

Corey Cogdell-Unrein

Rhode did nothing more than add to an Olympic legacy almost unfathomable already by earning a sixth straight individual Olympic medal becoming the first Summer Olympian ever to do so.  Already an idol among shooting fans young and old alike, she’s now a sensation for all Olympic dreamers.

Kim Rhode

When is bronze as good as gold? Look it up in the future and we’re pretty sure you will be able to bookmark August 12, 2016. Trending is something Rhode will now be doing well into a third decade as America’s shotgun queen. Since winning Olympic gold as a 17-year-old in Atlanta, Rhode’s journey now comes full circle having perhaps experienced the most trying four years of her Olympic pursuit.  Pregnancy and childbirth created a whole host of health complications for Rhode.  Looking at her son, Carter, in the stands on this day and seeing him waving down to mommy as she was about to step on the podium a record sixth-straight time, it was at that very moment that the pain of doing so vanished and that familiar feeling of accomplishment set in.

Adding to these remarkable achievements are two other female athletes that made the Olympic Finals in their events. Finals appearances for Sarah Scherer in her Olympic departure and for Morgan Craft in her Olympic arrival helped give the U.S. women five Olympic finalists in six events.

Given her comeback from a debilitating back injury, it was SCHERER DETERMINATION for the 25-year-old Sarah Scherer right to the very last shot in Rio.  She qualified fourth in Air Rifle and ended up with an eighth-place finish. Her match destiny in Three-Position rifle was pretty much decided when she cross fired (shot someone else’s target) in her very first shot in the standing series, shot 41 of 60.  She received a 0 out of 10 possible points for the error.  Earning a 9 or 10, could have meant a top-15 finish most likely.  Ultimately, it’s the last 19 shots though that truly showcased all that Scherer gave the sport.  Read more about how Scherer chose to end her career right here.

The first-time Olympian Morgan Craft nearly made it an even greater day for USA Shooting in Women’s Skeet. She survived a three-person shoot-off to advance to the semifinals.  She’d face another three-person shoot-off after 16 targets along with Rhode and China’s Wei Meng.  She’d fall to the two skeet shooting greats, but not before earning the admiration of her teammates and a legion of fans during her quick rise to stardom.


Pistol shooter Enkelejda Shehaj completed her Olympic return and finished with strength. Her results won’t make headlines, a 34th-place finish in Sport Pistol and a 40th-place result in Air Pistol.  Her comeback story should.  You can read about it here.

Lydia Paterson shot to a 29th-place result in Women’s Air Pistol during her first Olympic Games.

These Games proved once again that the rest of the world is really good at shooting too.  China and Italy led the overall medal totals with seven apiece, while Italy did so with flair in earning a Games-high four gold. Germany showcased its strength in winning three gold medals and four overall too.  All told, 19 countries, including two from IOC-sanctioned Kuwait that was competing under the IOA flag, earned medals in shooting. That total was the highest amount of countries earning a medal in any one sport besides judo and athletics.  Swimming and taekwondo each had 18 countries earn medals.

If you enjoyed this story of the ladies with their medals, check out all our previous WOW Wednesdays.

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.


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