Rhode’s aim is true enough for silver

Chicago Tribune

BEIJING -- After enduring a driving rainstorm to win the silver medal in skeet shooting Thursday at the Beijing Shooting Range, American Kimberly Rhode joked that maybe she would try trap shooting in the next Olympics.

And why not? Rhode, the world’s premier double-trap shooter over the last 12 years, made the transition to skeet look easy, narrowly missing out on the gold to Italy’s Chiara Cainero and edging Germany’s Christine Brinker, who got the bronze medal in the soggy shootout.

Rhode, 29, born in Whittier and raised in El Monte, had won two golds and a bronze in double trap in the previous three Olympics. She also had tried skeet shooting, beginning in Sydney in 2000 and finished fifth in Athens in ’04.

But she began training in earnest in skeet after double trap was eliminated, a transition her father and coach Richard Rhode said is “like a diver going to swimming. It’s totally different.”


Wearing her signature pearls and bluejeans, Rhode found herself in a three-way tie for first after 25 shots Thursday as the rain came down progressively harder. She went first in the shoot-off, hitting one of two targets, as did Brinker. Cainero hit both to take the gold.

In the shoot-off for the silver, Rhode hit both targets.

“With double trap being eliminated in 2004, I’m very happy just to be here in the Olympics and to be able to represent my country well,” Rhode said. “And I think whether it’s gold, silver or bronze, you still work just as hard. I couldn’t be happier.”

Cainero, who lives in a rainy region in Italy, said she had trouble distinguishing the colors of the targets.

“We had wet feet and it was uncomfortable,” Brinker said. “But we did the best we could and we’re all happy to have a medal.”

Rhode, the co-host of a weekly hunting show on the Outdoor Channel and a student at Cal Poly Pomona, said pressure was not a factor.

“Like anything, whether it be double or skeet, there’s the same amount of pressure, and I think with the experience of coming to the Olympics, I knew that and practiced and trained for it, to get myself prepared and to be better ready,” she said. “And as far as going for the next Olympics, for sure. I’ll go to London, hopefully, and maybe in trap, who knows? Maybe I’ll just mix things up a little.”