The USA Shooting Team opened the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at the Tucson, AZ, Trap and Skeet Club on July 12 by claiming gold and silver in the Women’s Skeet event.
Six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode of El Monte, CA, claimed the 18th World Cup gold medal of her career—30th World Cup medal overall—battling heat, delays, as well as her teammate Caitlin Connor of Winnfield, LA, down to a shoot-off.
“I had to work for that one,” a tired Rhode exclaimed as the applause began when Rhode won the shoot-off, 4-3.
“Going into the Final, I struggled through the first couple passes, dropping three. I knew I had my work cut out for me. From then on, I just figured out what I was doing and just kind of took it one target at a time. In the end, I’m just glad it all worked out, USA took gold and silver and that’s all that matters!”
The duo entered the Final with the top two Qualification scores, with Rhode setting a Qualification World Record by hitting 122/125 targets and Connor just one target back at 121. Their strong shooting would continue to the end as the pair tied in the Final with 55/60 targets, forcing the gold/silver medal decision to a shoot-off.
“We had a lot of delays, but it’s just something you have to look past—everyone’s in the same conditions. Fortunately for me, I’ve had a lot of experience shooting a lot of Finals!” Rhode said. “I couldn’t have been happier to have that shoot-off with my teammate Caitlin—we travel a lot, competed a lot together and we’re still good friends.”
“I think that was the longest Final ever!” Connor said. “It was really hot here in Tucson, they brought out cool towels and water for us, and we just had to stay in the moment—just had to focus on the target and have fun. Kim and I are pretty used to being in a Final together. And once you get past not taking fourth or fifth place and you’re in that medal area, you really just have fun with it. She and I really have fun when we get in to one-and-two like this!”
Lucie Anastassiou of France won the bronze medal.
This was not the first time this duo has occupied the top-two positions of the podium. Five of Connor’s now six silver medals have come with her finishing in second place behind Rhode. Connor became just the third female shotgun athlete in history to win six World Cup silver medals. She’s also now the third-most winning American woman on the World Cup circuit behind Rhode with 30 World Cup medals and Corey Cogdell-Unrein with seven.
Rhode and Connor’s teammate Amber English (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Colorado Springs, Colorado) finished Qualification with a score of 117, just one target shy of a potential Finals berth. English won silver at the previous World Cup stage in Siggiewi, Malta.
More than 200 athletes from 41 countries competed at the ISSF World Cup in Tucson, which was scheduled to concluded on July 19.