The first Olympic Medal for the US comes from an air rifle shooter, the first woman to medal in six straight Olympics is also a shooter, and why businesses want nothing to do with either of them. Great performances in Rio, but we really need to deal with the stigma of guns.
1.) Thrasher. First off, how cool is it that the first US gold medal is from a shooter with the last name “Thrasher”? Anyway, Ms. Thrasher took gold in the 10 meter air rifle event. Naturally, this has invited a ton of mockery from the perpetually angry anti-gun types in the country.
For her part, Thrasher (and her competitors), have been slightly irritated in how even Olympic sport is politicized if it involves firearms.
2.) Rhode. Normally, you’d think people would absolutely love when a woman competitor sets a record. Apparently that isn’t the case given the staggering lack of coverage of skeet shooter Kim Rhode, who became the first woman in any nation to earn a medal in six straight Olympic Games. (In other words, she has won in Rio this year, London in 2012, Beijing in 2008, Athens in 2004, Sydney in 2000, and of course Atlanta in 1996.)
Six games, meaning she has been at this for over 24 years and has medaled each time she has competed in the Games. That is a massive achievement, but doesn’t seem to be getting nearly as much coverage.
And it’s also not getting much in the way of corporate attention.
3.) Business. Put bluntly, the stigma the media and others have attached to firearms is making it difficult for Olympic shooters to get endorsements from outside of the firearms industry. If there is one upshot to that, it’s this from Bloomberg News:
“You talk about rifles and pistols and people are afraid, especially in Europe with the recent terrorism,’’ said Luciano Rossi, an Italian senator who is also president of the country’s shooting federation, and also vice-president of the international shooting federation. “We must offer a new image of our sport. If the spectators know our sport, they understand and love us, and if they love us, the sponsors come.’’
Considering the recent spike in people (particularly women) in this country getting into either the shooting sports or getting their CCW permits, we are seeing a change in how people (in this country , at least) perceive guns. As that fear dissipates, the environment may get easier for those competitors.
Until then, the very least we can do is recognize these Olympians for their historic achievements and the amount of work it took to get there.
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.