This American Has Won a Medal in Six Straight Olympics But Sponsors and NBC Avoid Her. Here’s Why.
The Olypics are almost over. We’ve had our fair-share of heart wrenching origin stories. We’ve been swimming in gold medal celebrations and record breaking accomplishments. But there’s one story from this set of games that has left us wondering: where’s the love?
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Kim Rhode is the FIRST WOMAN and (not insignificantly) the first Summer Olympian to medal in SIX consecutive Olympics. You’d think the glass ceiling crowd would be all over that, right? Not so much. See Rhode doesn’t wear a hijab. She is an outspoken supporter of the 2nd Amendment. And, most controversially, she won all six medals with a gun.
Let’s look at those numbers again. Six summer Olympics. Since they only happen every four years, we can assume Rhode has been winning for 20 years. Winning medals for 20 straight years. But her impressive career stretches farther back than that.
Rhode began competing in skeet at age 10 and at 13, won her first world championship title in women’s double trap shooting.
And then came the Olympics:
At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Rhode won a gold medal, making her the youngest female gold medalist in the history of Olympic shooting.
At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Rhode won a bronze medal.
At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, Rhode also won a gold medal.
At the 2008 Olympics, Rhode won the silver medal in women’s skeet.
In 2012, Rhodes again dominated the Olympic games. Rhode won the gold medal in skeet shooting with an Olympic record score of 99, and tied.
At that point, Rhode was the only American competitor to win medals for an individual event in five Olympics. She was one of three competitors (and the only woman) to win three Olympic individual gold medals for shooting. That sets the bar pretty high, for sure–but her career wasn’t over.
The 2016 games are just winding down, and Rhode is coming home with more precious metal. She won the bronze in women’s skeet, and this has fueled speculation that, after six sets of games, she might be ready to retire.
The question remains: Where’s the love?
What do we have to do to get someone like Rhode the coverage she deserves?