TILLAR, Arkansas (May 20, 2016) – Already a living legend in her sport and within Olympic history, Kim Rhodehas done it again. The five-time Olympic medalist guaranteed her quest for six after winning the team nomination in Women’s Skeet at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun Friday in Tillar, Arkansas.
She’ll be joined in Rio de Janeiro by Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) who won the Men’s Skeet competition today and in turn, punching his ticket to a second Olympic Games. Thompson finished in eighth place at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Rhode (El Monte, California), the defending gold medalist from the 2012 Olympic Games, entered this match with a five-target lead on English, but continued to grow her lead over the four-day competition by hitting 241/250 targets. By the conclusion of today’s Qualification, she had already secured the nomination in dominating fashion with her 14-target lead. Though today’s outcome in the Final was inconsequential, Rhode extended her lead to 16 with her first-place finish. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) finished in second place and Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) finished in third.
“Any Olympics, it’s all about that journey,” said Rhode. “Certainly, this Olympics this journey has been a little more difficult than the norm because there’s things out there that I couldn’t control like my health, so I feel very blessed. I’ve worked really hard to get here and to have gotten to this point and see it all come together for a singular moment over the past four days is super rewarding. I feel very honored to wear that Red, White and Blue and I’m humbled by it all.”
Thompson withstood a much more intense competition. So much so it had National Team Coach Todd Graves, who is among the sport’s all-time bests, more than thankful that he retired from competition when he did given the level of competition he saw play out under the most intense circumstances.
By the conclusion of today’s Qualification, Thompson held just a four-target advantage onHayden Stewart (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Columbia, Tennessee) and Phillip Jungman(Caldwell, Texas). Thompson would need a fourth-place finish or better to earn the required points to finalize his nomination and he did just that – finishing in fourth place in today’s Final to best Jungman by three points.
“I knew it was going to be real tight and tough and I’ve been training for that,” Thompson said. “The best thing I could do was trust my training and let it happen. So I just tried to stay focused and let the targets shoot themselves. Returning to the Olympics is something I’ve worked on since getting back from London.”
All Olympic Team nominations are subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee.
Rhode is now the first American to qualify for Olympic teams on five different continents.
A sixth consecutive Olympic medal in Rio and Rhode would stand alone in U.S. Olympic history as the only person ever to earn six consecutive Olympic medals. After earning a fifth medal in London, she already owns the mark for those competing in an individual sport but this would put her ahead of Dara Torres (swimming) and Teresa Edwards (basketball) for most consecutive Olympic medals earned by an American. A sixth medal would also tie her with luge great Armin Zöggeler of Italy for most consecutive individual Olympic medals by any Olympian.
Rhode and Thompson join first-time Olympic Team nominee Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania) and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) in Women’s and Men’s Skeet respectively. Craft and Hancock qualified through the Olympic Points System based on their performances in 2015. Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) also secured a U.S. Olympic Team nomination for Men’s Double Trap with his win yesterday.
The Skeet competition at this second part of the Trials process consisted of four consecutive days of competition (125 targets total), as well as two Finals at the conclusion of the second and fourth day. Each day’s qualifying scores and points from the event Finals from this match were added to the Qualification and Finals scores from the first part of the Trials in Tucson, Arizona in October to get a cumulative total.
Trap open training starts tomorrow with competition kicking off Sunday. Only a Women’s Trap Olympic Team slot is up for grabs with Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado) entering the match with a three-target lead over two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalistCorey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska). Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) is just five targets back in third place.