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Posted: 8/19/2004 10:20:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2004 10:20:32 AM EDT by warlord]
Way to go!
Funny, the liberal news media made very little mention of her gold medal win, they're back into their same old BS anti-gun mode.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Golden moment
Rhode wins trap shooting
By Mirjam Swanson
Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - MARKOPOULO, Greece -- Kim Rhode finished her Olympic double trap shooting career the way she started it: She was golden.

The 25-year-old from El Monte won the final installment of her specialty event at the Olympics on Wednesday, staying calm despite four final-round misses by singing "Here Comes Santa Claus' to herself and then beating Korea's Bo Na Lee by a final-round margin of 36-35.

"It's an amazing feeling,' Rhode said. "It's amazing because I won a gold in '96 when the event first started and now a gold when it's over.'

Rhode won the gold medal the first time the event was held, at the Atlanta Games in 1996. She finished with a bronze medal in Sydney four years ago.

Rhode, who by age 10 was toting a shotgun on a safari in Africa, said she isn't sure why Olympic double trap shooting is going by the wayside, but that she sure will miss it. Men's 10- meter shooting also will be eliminated.

"I think it's sad, this being the last time this event will be in the Olympics,' said Rhode, who will compete today in the skeet shooting competition, which she plans to pursue for an Olympic berth in Beijing in 2008.

"It's really devastating to see a sport that's so much fun disappear. There's so much speculation. I've heard rumors that it's from not enough participation to trying to make more beds in the Olympics.

"But I have really no idea.'

Rhode's parents were among the American flag-waving supporters watching Wednesday's event at Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Center. Immediately after his daughter's victory, Richard Rhode barged into the media mix zone to give Kim a big hug.

"It's awesome. Just awesome,' said Richard Rhode, recounting some of the experiences that double trap shooting has provided his daughter, a pre-veterinary science student at Cal Poly Pomona.

Beyond the Olympic medals, there have been high-placing world championship finishes, and a World Cup victory last year. There were even more memorable instances, Richard Rhode said, such as being invited to hunt Asiatic buffalo and wild boar by Aboriginal elders four years ago in Australia.

"Now, that was wild,' Richard Rhode said.

So was the past year.

Kim Rhode used to train in El Monte, but the range there got too crowded to be a productive setting for the four to six hours of shooting she does a day.

A little more than a year ago, Rhode found herself in need of a new training location. She checked out the Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall and met club owner Jim Mitchell, who knew of Rhode only by her reputation, yet quickly became a force in her quest to make her third U.S. shooting team this summer.

Mitchell spent $30,000 to build a fully equipped miniature double trap range specifically for Rhode, who has since been making the daily 45-minute drive to Newhall.

"I asked if I could build it if I found some funding,' Rhode said. "And he said, 'No. I'll build it for you myself.

"I can't wait to call him and tell him, because without him, I wouldn't even be here. He earned this just as much as I did.'

Said Richard Rhode of Mitchell: "His exact words were, 'It would be an honor to help the U.S. shooting team.''

Now Mitchell can say he has a two-time gold medalist training at his club.

"We take great pride in her accomplishments and are glad we had a small a role in it. We know better than anyone how hard she trained. She's spent an enormous amount of time and effort to win,' Mitchell said. "She's such a classy little lady.'

While Rhode trained at his club, she also mentored other young people.

Mitchell said he had an idea that the double trap event might be discontinued, but providing a training ground for Rhode was essential.

"Given the climate in California about guns and firearms ... if she was from Texas, say, or many other states, there'd be a dozen places for her to train and shoot.'

Mitchell said he plans to celebrate upon Rhode's return, as does the city of El Monte.

Despite her knocking knees and sweating palms, Rhode was in control throughout the event, entering the finals with the lead. Then under the warm sun, she didn't miss a bird the flying bright orange target that competitors blast from the sky until the 10th round.

Then, in the 11th round, or on her next pair of shots, she again missed her second attempt, which allowed Lee to take a one-shot lead.

How concerned was the petite woman in the USA singlet, sneakers and jeans?

Not at all, she said.

She wasn't even paying attention to the score.

"I didn't really know where I stood,' she said. "I try not to look because I never want to know where I'm at, or I'll start counting in my head.'

It's a proven technique, after all. Rhode got the lead back when Lee missed in the 12th and 14th rounds. Chinese shooters Li Qingnian and Gao E, who earned bronze after a shoot-off, were accurate late to make a charge up the scoreboard, but they both faltered in the final round.

That was big in Rhode's victory because she missed her final shot, after which she stepped back and listened for a reaction from her supporters. That was how she wanted to learn how she had done.

When she heard the cheers, she knew the result was good.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. It'll probably hit me when I get home,' said Rhode, who was the only American to qualify in the event.

"The last time I won, I had a parade, and I had a lot of friends meet me at the airport, so I can't even imagine what it's going to be like this time around, but I'm sure there will be a lot of parties.'

El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez said they will also celebrate the accomplishments of El Monte resident Janet Dykman, who made it into the early rounds of the Olympic archery competition this week before losing.

Party plans will be discussed at the Sept. 7 El Monte City Council meeting.

"We are very elated,' Gutierrez said. "We are going to pull out the red carpet for these ladies because we feel they are very, very special people.'

-- Staff Writer Marianne Love contributed to this story. Mirjam Swanson can be reached at (909) 386-3865.
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 7:27:32 PM EDT
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