Kim Rhode has shot to the top of Olympic record books – literally. The skeet shooter is the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympic Games.
Over the weekend Rhode, 33, won a gold medal at the Royal Artillery Barracks and tied the world record with a nearly perfect performance by hitting 99 out of 100 clay targets.
Here are five things to know about the Olympic star, who hails from Monrovia, Calif.
She’s got a treasure trove worth of precious medals
Before winning gold in London, Rhode earned gold medals in Atlanta – when she was just 16 years old – and in Athens. She nabbed a bronze medal in the Sydney Games and a silver in Beijing four years ago. And she’ll likely have more medals in her future. Asked how long she will continue to compete, Rhode’s coach, her dad Richard, told the Los Angeles Times. “The oldest Olympic medalist was a shooter, I think. He won a medal when he was 72.”
Her dog ate her ticket
No, really! Rhode’s poodle ate her plane ticket to London. “The dog likes paper,” Sharon Rhode, the shooter’s mom, said. Also, the airline cancelled Rhode’s flight to London for the Games – two days in a row. And her husband lost his passport. But Rhode is an Olympic athlete – and wouldn’t let a few bumps in the road stop her journey to gold.
She’s a collector
Rhode has collected thousands of old children’s books and has 14 vintage cars, most of which she’s working to restore herself. Her latest vehicle purchase, however, was in mint condition. “Just before I came here, I bought a 1928 Model A Roadster,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Her parents sacrificed for her
Rhode’s parents, Richard and Sharon, made major financial sacrifices to support her shooting, which can cost up to $700 a day for shells and targets. The couple “refinanced [our house] so many times,” says mom Sharon, that they still owe money on it. “But what do you do when your child has a dream?” Richard told the Associated Press. “I think people do that. They sacrifice for their kids. And we wouldn’t change a minute of it. All we can do, pardon the pun here, is bite the bullet.”
Someone stole her gun!
Rhode shot with the same gun for 18 years, but in 2008 a man broke into her truck and stole it. The gun was replaced by an anonymous donor to the tune of $20,000, according to AP. Police caught the thief 18 months later, but by then Rhode had gotten a new shotgun. The adjustment was rough for Rhode, who explained it like this, “It would be the equivalent of a swimmer going from backstroke to diving,” she told AOL Sporting News.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony in Three Minutes