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Posted: 8/27/2004 8:37:10 PM EDT

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Rhode enjoying life of gold medalist
By Jason Kosareff
Staff Writer

Thursday, August 26, 2004 - EL MONTE -- Olympian Kim Rhode spoke Thursday about her gold medal win and her hero's welcome in her hometown.

While a formal city-sponsored celebration of Rhode's victory in shooting has not been confirmed, the partying has been almost nonstop since she came home Monday.

"I was absolutely exhausted,' the 25-year-old El Monte resident said. "I walked off the plane to about five of my friends screaming and yelling in the baggage claim area. It embarrassed the heck out of me.'

Despite Rhode's fatigue, the friends took her out for a night on the town.

"So, technically, I didn't get home until the morning of the 24th.'

City officials closely followed Rhode's Aug. 18 golden performance in the double trap event, and her fellow El Monte Olympian Janet Dykman, who made it to the early archery rounds before she was eliminated.

"She's put El Monte on the map, big time,' Councilman J. Gomez said of Rhode.

As for Rhode, she plans to soak up the adulation for a few more days before returning to her training schedule for upcoming national and world competitions.

On Thursday, Rhode was a special guest at a Ben Harper rock concert in Santa Barbara and tonight she will be introduced on stage at the Hollywood Bowl before a John Williams symphony concert.

Athens was her third Olympic Games. In the 1996 Atlanta Games, Rhode won a gold medal; in the 2000 Sydney Games she won a bronze. She carries her medals around in her back pocket.

"I'm running out of back pockets. I don't believe in keeping them locked up where no one can see them,' Rhode said. "So many people have helped me get to this point. I think everyone should have a chance to see them.'

Rhode specializes in double trap shooting, a sport that will not return to the Olympics.

"It was a bittersweet kind of win,' Rhode said.

But just because double trap shooting won't make a return doesn't mean Rhode will not be in the next Olympics. She plans to find a new Olympic shooting sport to compete in.

"It's the end of one and the beginning of something new.'

Emotions ran high at her medal ceremony. She didn't cry in 1996, nor in 2000.

"But I was bawling in Athens,' she said. "Because of the history, because of the journey, the bumps in the road to get to the Olympics.'

Rhode said she didn't stay for the closing ceremonies in Athens because space was needed for incoming athletes. And she's a veteran who's been through two closing ceremonies before.

But she will watch the event on television Sunday. Despite medals and celebrity, Rhode is aiming for normalcy.

"I'm going to focus on my schooling, register at Cal Poly Pomona,' she said. "Basically, just try to lead a normal life.'

-- Jason Kosareff can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717, or by e-mail at jason.kosareff@sgvn.com
Link Posted: 8/27/2004 10:18:42 PM EDT
if she wasnt a kali resident there could be a AR group buy for her, maybe a group gift cert for a target pistol?
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 10:29:08 AM EDT
A year or two after she won her first gold, I had the privelege of meeting her, and she did indeed have her medal with her. (I think it may have been at a gun-related function, but it was still cool! First time I've seen an Olympic gold medal in person.) She impressed me as a very nice, down-to-earth person. Don't know if she's also a rifle or pistol shooter, but it wouldn't surprise me. IIRC, I heard/read somewhere that she also likes to hunt. Definitely a good representative of the shooting sports community. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 1:38:03 PM EDT
kato4moto: Email your thoughts to the author of the article, and I'm sure he can forward it to Kim herself.
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