By Kim Rhode, Five-Time Olympic Shooting Medalist | July 29, 2013, 8 a.m. (ET)
Kim Rhode poses with her gold medal at a press conference at he Main Press Center after winning the women's skeet shooting at the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 29, 2012 in London.

Kim Rhode competes in the women's skeet shooting final at the
London 2012 Olympic Games at The Royal Artillery Barracks on July
29, 2012 in London.

July 29, 2012 marked my first day of competition at my FIFTH Olympic Games and on this morning I woke up ready. From the balcony of my room in the Olympic Village, I just really took in the conditions, trying to figure out what I was going to wear — what would be appropriate noting that it was very windy and overcast. From there, my day started off very routine. I went down to the cafeteria in the village for a good breakfast and, ironically, found myself sitting with the team psychologist. I was wondering if he was analyzing me and checking me out to see if I was nervous!

At the range, I got all my gear together and as I got ready I noticed that I wasn’t nervous. I remember shooting the three rounds of skeet and not being nervous at all. In fact, I was tweeting and texting in between rounds. When I looked around the tent where all the athletes went to rest in between rounds, I felt I was the calmest competitor as I watched others feeling the pressure.

I didn’t realize I was in the No. 1 position when I dropped one target in my third round. Since then I have been asked many times, ‘What happened? Why did you miss?’ Truthfully, I can’t remember. Nothing stands out. It was an easy target that just got away. I wish I could blame it on the wind or the lighting, or anything, but it really wasn’t any of those things. Sometimes you just miss.

Moving on to the final round is really when it kind of hit me I was in the No. 1 position as the coaches were chattering about it, but I didn't know the scores and hadn’t looked at the scoreboard. For the final round each competitor is lined up and they announce, one at a time, each competitor’s country, a little about their career/winnings, their score and their position. This never helps my nerves and standing in front of the crowd only intensified my nervousness. However, as we walked to station one, the girls started to shoot and as it continued…dead/lost…I knew that it was pretty much sealed for me. I was very confident and once I finished station six without missing, I knew I had won.

Kim Rhode celebrates with her gold medal at the London 2012
Olympic Games on July 29, 2012 in London.

The crowd was going crazy and it was just a matter of keeping myself together to shoot an Olympic record of 99. It was all I could do to keep from crying, but I knew if I had tears in my eyes I wouldn’t be able to see the target. I barely cleared station seven, fighting back my tears. Hitting the last target on station eight was incredible! I smoked the last target, turned to the crowd, did a couple fist pumps and just was in total shock that we had actually done it again. I say “we” because it takes a lot of help from a lot of different people.

The medal ceremony was amazing with lots of emotions. Back in the tent lots of athletes came over to look at the medal, try it on and take pictures. During all this excitement it was the words the U.S. Olympic coach whispered in my ear that really touched me. He was just so thankful and blessed and honored that he had the opportunity to be there to watch. It was awesome.

This last year has gone by so fast for me. It seems like just yesterday we were all in London, but a lot has happened during this last year. My son, Carter, was born in May and I have started my training for the next Olympic Games. Carter will be 3 years old in Rio and I definitely have plans to be there again to represent the USA.

Kim Rhode is a five-time Olympian in the sport of shooting who has competed in every summer Olympic Games since 1996. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Rhode became the first American to win an individual medal at five consecutive Games when she won the women's skeet shooting competition on July 29, 2012. On her way to earning gold in London, Rhode shot an Olympic record score of 99.

 

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