Skip to main content

Hot Shot: Interview with Olympic Shooter Kim Rhode

Kim-Rhode_001

Kim Rhode has become an American Olympic staple. Among her most significant accomplishments, she has won Olympic gold three times (1996, 2004 and 2012), silver (2008) and a bronze medal (2000). In 2012, she set out to do something no other Olympic athlete has ever done: medal in five consecutive Olympic games, and in doing so, is helping to bring the shooting sports to the forefront of worldwide attention.

Eric R. Poole was able to snag an exclusive interview with Rhode, who on Sunday shot an Olympic record 99/100 in women's skeet shooting to clinch her third gold medal.

Kim-Rhode_002What did it feel like to hold your first Olympic medal?


I ended up putting the medal in the sock drawer because I didn't know what to do with it. I had to take it everywhere.


What's it like to be an Olympic champion representing the United States?

When I won my first medal at the 1996 Olympics, I didn't realize what I had achieved. I knew what I had worked for, but I didn't understand how it would affect other people's lives. Once, when I gave a speech to 400 women at a college, afterward a woman diagnosed with cancer came up to me and said that she knew she could win. I almost cried. You don't realize what it means to others until you experience it. When you're a young kid, it was just a competition, a match. When you represent your country, I find that it impacts you differently.

How did you first get into shooting?

I don't remember the first time I ever shot a gun, but I was very little — and very, very small. I can remember sitting on a lawn chair and dad helping me to hold the gun and take down the recoil. And I remember my first limit of doves. I started competing at 10 years old. A lot of people don't realize that I started in the junior NRA programs shooting smallbore .22, but I eventually took up shooting a shotgun. I was maybe 12 or 13 when I first earned a spot by shooting bunker trap out at Prado. I won the match and earned the right to go to the Junior Olympic Training Program. Then I got a call that I was ineligible because of my age. I was very upset and decided that I was going to do this. I went to the American Championship for American Skeet, and Lloyd Woodhouse — the Olympic coach — was there. He saw me compete, and I won the World title. He said, "We'll make an exception if your mother comes with you." It was from there that I was introduced to the International styles.




Do you practice with the same load you shoot with?

Yes, I use the same Winchester International load. I used to shoot a special reload using all Winchester components and went into shooting the International load that they now produce. It has the most developed shells Winchester has ever made.

How often do you practice?


Up until recently, I've been shooting every single day, seven days a week. I would average anywhere between 500 and 1,000 rounds a day.

Do you have any unusual superstitions?

I don't know if it's really a superstition, but I'm not really big into changing something when everything seems to be working. I won't shoot in a collared shirt because I can't get the mount into the same spot. I do the same thing, over and over again. The routine helps to set myself up for each target. That's really what this game is about — being a machine while taking in the conditions around you.

Do you have any rituals ahead of a competition?

About the only thing I'll do on the morning of a competition is that I'll turn on the cold water for a shower to wake myself up. I've been doing this since I was a little kid. We do so much traveling and competing overseas that when there's a time change I'm usually competing when I'd otherwise be asleep.

Have you ever had an issue while transporting your guns internationally?

The Olympic committee handles transport of guns, so I don't usually see the problems that come from that. I have had my gun stolen prior to a match. That was 2008. There was a lot of media attention on it. It was the night before the selection process for the Olympic team. We never caught the people who actually stole it. A bunch of people were really kind and ended up replacing that gun. So that's the gun I actually shoot now.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Choose your friends wisely. I think that's a great one. You want people around you that will build you up and help you through thick and thin. Those who you consider your true friends. I can truly say that I have amazing friends and family. When I'm gone for three months, I can come home and pick up where I left off. When you're down, those people know what to say, and when you're up they know what you need to hear.

Kim-Rhode_003Could that also apply to you professionally?

There's definitely loyalty involved. Even when I finished second or third place, Winchester was still there for me. If your word and handshake are not worth anything, money won't make up for it. People will switch brand loyalty because for them it's all about the money. It doesn't mean that the company produces a great product, and that's why I don't put my name with everything.

What do you say to women who want to take up sport shooting?

No two Olympic sports are the same. Some are about muscles, and some are about speed. Some are about reaction time, and some are about hand and eye coordination. In shooting it's about adjusting to the situation. It becomes a game of intellect. It's one of the few sports that men and women can compete on the same field, on equal footing.

What do you think about before a competition?

There's always a winner and someone who doesn't win.

What's your favorite part about your career as a competitive shotgunner?

I have to say the people in competition. I love being in that moment where you're tied and it's coming down to the wire. I've never had a problem staying motivated or losing interest because this is what I love. It's what I do. I get to go hunting, travel around the world and represent the country. It has to be one of the greatest jobs ever.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range to wring out the Umarex Air Ruger 10/22.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The first in this new family of Springfield Armory rifles is the Model 2020 Waypoint, the result of years of engineering, testing and evaluation, combined with premium grade components found on rifles costing thousands of dollars more.First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle Rifles

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

Guns & Ammo Staff - September 29, 2020

The first in this new family of Springfield Armory rifles is the Model 2020 Waypoint, the...

Where has all of the ammo gone?2020 Ammo Shortage Industry

2020 Ammo Shortage

Keith Wood - December 23, 2020

Where has all of the ammo gone?

You might be surprised how many Americans (even gun owners) think machine guns are illegal.Machine Guns — Can You Own One? Rifles

Machine Guns — Can You Own One?

Eric R. Poole - December 15, 2020

You might be surprised how many Americans (even gun owners) think machine guns are illegal.

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different.Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

See More Trending Articles

More News

FN America announced the 5.7x28mm caliber has been standardized by NATO.FN 5.7x28mm Caliber Standardized by NATO Industry

FN 5.7x28mm Caliber Standardized by NATO

Guns & Ammo Staff - March 02, 2021

FN America announced the 5.7x28mm caliber has been standardized by NATO.

True Velocity finalized delivery of more than 625,000 rounds of the company's proprietary composite-cased 6.8mm ammunition to the U.S. Army for consideration in the Next Generation Squad Weapon Program (NGSW).True Velocity Delivers More Than 625K Rounds of Composite-Cased Ammo to U.S. Army Industry

True Velocity Delivers More Than 625K Rounds of Composite-Cased Ammo to U.S. Army

Guns & Ammo Staff - January 07, 2021

True Velocity finalized delivery of more than 625,000 rounds of the company's proprietary...

Perhaps, a window to the future.The Gun-Control Plan 2nd Amendment

The Gun-Control Plan

Keith Wood - November 11, 2020

Perhaps, a window to the future.

The Big Three social-media platforms are the most influential information sources — ever, and that unprecedented influence is being wielded against the 2nd Amendment and all of us.Big Tech Attacks the 2nd Amendment 2nd Amendment

Big Tech Attacks the 2nd Amendment

Keith Wood - December 09, 2020

The Big Three social-media platforms are the most influential information sources — ever, and...

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now