Dramatic Rhode to victory

MUNICH -- In dramatic fashion, Kim Rhode claimed a handful of accolades at the International Shooting Sports Federation 2010 World Championships in Women's International Skeet.

Rhode got off to a fast start on Sunday, immediately shooting back-to-back perfect rounds of 25/25 to set the early pace. The drama began after her third-round score of 22/25 put her in a tie for first place at 72/75 going into the final round.

In the manner that has become her trademark, Rhode responded to the pressure of the moment by shooting another perfect 25/25. Her overall score of 97/100 targets was enough to claim the World Championship title and accompanying gold medal by one target.

Rhode was very aware of what was riding on this last round and joked, "No pressure, right? I was definitely feeling the excitement for the match."

In addition to the championship title, she won an all-important quota slot for the USA Olympic Shooting Team at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Rhode and her teammates, Haley Dunn and Amber English won the International Skeet Team gold medal. With her World Cup wins in Acapulco and Beijing and this World Championship in Munich, she has now surpassed the threshold of 45 points which is required to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Rhode, a former ESPN Great Outdoor Games competitor, now has 53 points and a commanding lead in the race to earn the right to represent the USA in the upcoming Games.

"All the hard work and training that has gone into this one day makes this win especially sweet when I was able to secure a quota slot for the 2012 Olympic Games for Team USA," Rhode said.

2010 has been another watershed year for the four-time USA Olympic medalist. Last month, Rhode won the U.S. Nationals in International Skeet and is currently ranked No. 1 in the World.

Her quest to make all-time Olympic history by earning her fifth-straight Olympic medal in her fifth-straight Olympic games is starting to come to the attention of the entire Olympic Movement. This has never been accomplished by any U.S. athlete in an individual sport.

Kim hopes that this development will bring more attention to USA Shooting and to the entire outdoor industry.

"Our sport is so demanding and all of my competitors are so very good at what they do that it is very satisfying to me to see all of our efforts appreciated by more sporting experts in the Olympic Movement and in the sports world in general," she said.

With less than two years remaining before the 2012 London Olympic Games, she is very appreciative of the efforts of those around her who have empowered her with their continued support for all of the costs of her training, travel and competition.

"Quite simply, the costs for a competitive shooter are among the highest in the Olympic world," Rhode said. "I could not succeed without the support of the United States Olympic Committee and USA Shooting as well as my amazing sponsors. In addition, there are those who are closest to me who are the 'wind beneath my wings' and they know how much I appreciate their supportive efforts."