Kimberly Rhode has a place all by herself in the annals of US Olympic history.
The 33-year-old American shooter from SoCal won her third all-time individual gold medal in women’s shooting today, hitting 99 targets out of 100 in women’s skeet shooting. That mark in itself tied a world record (no one has ever had a perfect 100 marks in skeet), but that wasn’t the greatest feat Rhode achieved.
Again, the gold medal was the third shooting gold medal in her Olympic career. She previously won gold in women’s double trap (another shooting event) in 1996 in Atlanta at age 17, the youngest ever Olympic medalist in shooting. She also won the gold in 2004 and sandwiched a bronze medal in 2000. When double trap was eliminated from Olympic competition, she switched over to shoot skeet and won silver in Beijing.
But the most historic implication of this performance is that Rhode is the first Americ an Olympian ever – EVER – to win an individual medal in five straight Games. Think of the list of great American Olympians, and yet none of them has ever achieved this feat.
Not only has she achieved unparalleled excellence among her own countrymen, but she has also set the gold standard for her sport. No other woman has ever won three gold medals in shooting events.
Rhode, a breast cancer survivor, has said she wants to continue competing after this Olympics, and that type of longevity isn’t unheard of in shooting events!