Kim Rhode competes in women's skeet at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 on Aug. 14, 2008 in Beijing.
From the thrilling Opening Ceremony to Michael Phelps’ iconic eight gold medals, the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 were truly unforgettable. Relive the 10-year anniversary of the Games through Aug. 24 as TeamUSA.org recaps the daily highlights from Beijing. Here’s a look at Team USA’s performance on Day 6, Aug. 14, 2008.
Back in 2008, Kim Rhode was a mere four-time Olympian. Her legend in the sport, though, was becoming well established.
Having previously won two gold medals and a bronze medal in women’s double trap, Rhode turned her attention to skeet in 2008, as double trap had been dropped from the Olympic program. Her performance on Day 6 of the Beijing Games showed she didn’t miss a beat with the transition.
After hitting 70 of 75 targets in the qualification round, Rhode went into the final tied for third. There, in rainy and windy conditions, she shot herself into a three-way tie for first place, forcing a shoot-off. Italy’s Chiara Cainero secured the gold in the first round, and then Rhode hit both birds in the second round to secure the silver medal, as German opponent Christine Brinker-Wenzel hit just one.
With the win, Rhode now had four medals in four Olympics, a streak that would reach a record six for six in 2016 — with the California native still going strong today.
On a Thursday in which Michael Phelps’ quest for eight gold medals had an “off” day, Rhode’s silver medal proved to be the highlight for Team USA. In total, Americans won five medals, with the other four being bronze.
Even with Phelps off — he swam in the heats for the 100-meter butterfly and semis for the 200 IM, but no finals — the U.S. continued adding medals in the pool, thanks to two names earning a reputation at these Games.
In the men’s 100 freestyle, Jason Lezak — the hero from Day 3’s winning 4x100 free team — tied Brazil’s César Cielo for the bronze medal. Natalie Coughlin, meanwhile, earned her fourth medal in swimming the second leg of the women’s 4x200 free, along with Allison Schmitt, Caroline Burckle and Katie Hoff.
Expectations were high for the top-ranked women’s saber fencing team, which had swept the podium in the individual competition on Day 1. Those expectations also brought pressure, the fencers admitted, and that showed as Ukraine upset the U.S. team of Sada Jacobson, Becca Ward and Mariel Zagunis in the semis.
“I definitely wanted to make up for that performance,” Ward told The Oregonian. “I wanted to fight for my team.”
And they did. The Americans bounced back to beat France 45–38 in the bronze-medal match.
Team USA’s other bronze medal came on the wrestling mat, as Adam Wheeler grappled to a third-place finish in the Greco-Roman heavyweight division. It was Team USA’s first wrestling medal of the Games, and its only in Greco-Roman. The U.S. has not medaled in Greco-Roman since Wheeler’s bronze.
With action now underway in all but five sports in Beijing, U.S. athletes continued to compete in a multitude of events.
Two days after leading an underdog U.S. men’s gymnastics team to a bronze medal, Jonathan Horton posted the top U.S. score in the all-around competition, finishing ninth.
Meanwhile, teams sports rolled on with three U.S. squads winning to move to 3-0 in preliminary-round play — men’s basketball beating Greece, women’s softball beating Canada and men’s volleyball beating Bulgaria.
Chrös McDougall covered the 2008 Games for the Olympic News Service. He has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.