The United States Sports Academy has honored American shooter Kim Rhode – the most successful female shooter in Olympic history – with a 2016 Distinguished Service Award for her excellence in the sport over the last six consecutive Olympic summer games.
The award recently was presented in her home state of California by Dr. Gary Cunningham, Academy trustee and president of the United States International University Sports Federation.
A bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, Rhode is the first athlete, male or female, to medal at six consecutive Olympic summer games and the first to win a medal on five different continents. Rhode is the only woman to win two Olympic gold medals in the double trap event.
Rhode began shooting at age 10 and by age 13 she won her first world championship title in American skeet shooting, after which she was named captain of the All-American Team. She has won 14 national championship gold medals in the International style of shotgun shooting since joining the USA Shooting National Team in 1995.
Her first gold medal came in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where at age 17 she was the youngest female gold medalist in the history of Olympic shooting. She followed her impressive showing in Atlanta with bronze in Sydney, gold in Athens, silver in Beijing and gold in London. Because the double trap event was eliminated from Olympic competition for women in 2004, Rhode has since focused on International skeet shooting, for which she won bronze in Rio.
Rhode won gold medals in the Pan American Games in 2015, 2011, 2010, 2003 and 1999 and was recognized as the USA Shooting Female Athlete of the Year three times from 2007-09.
An avid hunter and an outspoken supporter of the second amendment in the United States, Rhode is an honorary lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and the Safari Club International.
The Distinguished Service Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.
By Eric Mann
Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.