Olympic Shooting Snub

USA Shooting has been pitching the story of Kim Rhode to mainstream media because she’s broken some pretty unique Olympic records during her years of competing. She’s the only American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics – only American at all, not just the only American shooter. Her presence in Rio also makes her the only American Olympian to compete on 5 continents. Beyond American records, she is the only woman to win three Olympic golds in shooting.

In addition to holding records, she’s overcome challenges that many Olympians would find it hard to overcome – like having her specialized sport discontinued and being forced to take up a new one. Her prized equipment was stolen at one point. Yet she makes news for keeping such an upbeat attitude about her sport and life’s many challenges.

With these kinds of records, this news story from May highlighted that the US Olympic team members have never recognized Kim Rhode with the honor of carrying the American flag during opening or closing ceremonies.

Instead, news came today that US swimmer Michael Phelps will carry the flag. He was chosen because he has won multiple medals in various swimming sports that are largely just swimming different distances in the same discipline. Oh, and the other headlines he has generated for the US Olympic team include an underage DUI arrest to which he pled guilty and being photographed with drug paraphernalia. And then there’s the second DUI arrest since he apparently didn’t learn the first time. As this article notes, after every single medal-winning games Phelps has competed in, he follows up with headline-making illegal activities.

Sure, let’s choose that guy because he holds an Olympic record to represent the United States in the ceremonies.

That said, I’m going to try and watch the Olympic shooting events if I can figure out how to stream it. (I think the NBC sports channel on Roku may have all the sports airing if I have read things correctly.) It’s a fairly minor show of support, but our Olympic shooters could probably use a little more support.

13 thoughts on “Olympic Shooting Snub”

  1. She is awesome, humble, and so encouraging to other shooters of all skill levels. Kim Rhode is simply a great person plus a favorable representative of shooters!

    As an aside – There is no need to denigrate other Olympians. There have been articles bashing M.P. for years so why add to the chorus.

  2. I didn’t hear Sebastian denigrate Phelps; instead I heard him point out the ‘values’ dichotomy between the values-challenged man chosen to hold the flag and the role-model woman who is ignored.

    The USOC made a decision. They chose Phelps – a guy who despite being a solid athlete has made several bad personal decisions that effectively neuter his status as a role-model.

    Compare Phelps to Rhode, whose suffers indignity because people just don’t like guns or people who like guns. She is a solid role-model but ignored because of politically-correct bias.

    Pointing out the bias (and the reason why Phelps was a bad choice from a role-model perspective) is not denigration of Phelps. Nobody called him anything or accused him of being something he is not. He wears his medals right next to his mistakes. He owns both and we should not white-wash his errors. I don’t think pointing them out when they are apropos to the topic is denigration.

    All said, I’d like to see Rhode get some much-deserved recognition and honor from the USOC.

    1. They chose Phelps – a guy who despite being a solid athlete has made several bad personal decisions that effectively neuter his status as a role-model.

      I think it’s worth pointing out that if Kim Rhodes made the same “bad personal decisions” that Phelps did, she’d be prohibited from owning the tools she uses to compete. For life.

      The USOC and IOC don’t have to issue a lifetime ban on sanctioned competition for shooters’ misdeeds; domestic and international laws will do it more effectively.

      Thus, Michael Phelps is allowed to make those bad choices, get a slap on the wrist, and continue competing. Kim Rhodes is not. She’s held (and holds herself) to a higher standard, and carries it with aplomb.

      So yes, relative popularity aside, given the MULTIPLE Olympic records Kim Rhodes holds, I’m a bit disappointed that drug-criminal Michael Phelps was handed the honor of carrying the flag.

    2. Actually, USOC put out a poll asking those subscribing to their Facebook and Email to vote on flag bearer. There were 6-8 choices. I did vote for Kim as I have met her through my coaching and time spent at the OTC. By the way, the close second place was Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer. Ibtihaj is the 1st American to compete in the Olympics wearing a Hajib.

  3. Phelps in more well known than Kim Rhodes and his sport is more popular. The Olympics is more than athletic achievements IT is good press and showmanship. Thus a popular athlete is chosen.

    The real problem is her sport is not exciting to watch There is no race between several people.

    1. No offense, but what I’m reading from your comment is that popularity and “showmanship” trump upstanding behavior and achievement.

      I could also argue that swimming was not nearly as popular before Phelps won so many medals, just like golf was not nearly as popular before Tiger Woods broke so many Masters’ records – youngest champ, first black champ, etc. – and then lost his status as a role model through morally “questionable” (not necessarily even illegal) activities.

      (Although, the “popularity” argument does explain why NFL and NBA players get slaps on the wrist for drug crimes and domestic violence that would land any of us “lesser beings” in prison for a very long time.)

      It says something about our national culture, but nothing very good.

      1. How is this post misleading? I specifically said: “…US Olympic team members have never recognized Kim Rhode with the honor of carrying the American flag during opening or closing ceremonies.”

  4. While frustrating, the choice was by a vote. Kim Rhode also was chosen to carry the flag during the Pan American Games last summer which was televised. Her achievements and story were were shared

  5. Chances are, few US residents even know shooting is an Olympic sport. Latent semantic indexing of news reports would probably show the most often used terms adjacent the term “gun” is “violence” and “control.’ The phrase “gun nuts” appears in online publications far more often than the term “firearm skills.”

    The people who produce news have migrated away from rural communities where shooting skills are valued. Attitudes toward firearms serve more of a political purpose than anything else, among news producers.

    Disdain toward firearms serves as a proxy for disdain toward rural populations likely to vote against the political interests of college educated urban dwellers. Disdain towar firearms can be a proxy for contempt toward military and law enforcement professionals. Political groups that would extend public control pander to populations alienated from the public franchise by leveraging contempt for the professions that enforce public mandates.

    University educated urban pundits who staff news rooms, including sports departments, pander to voters who expect generous retirement packages working for public agencies or large corporations. The result is a press corp indifferent to U.S. acheivements in shooting sports.

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