(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado) As good as she’s been over the past 20-plus years, six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode arguably had one of her greatest seasons on record in 2017. The shooting world thought so too and today she was recognized by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) as the Female Shooter of the Year for 2017.
Three of the top-10 Female Shooters in 2017 were from America’s Shooting Team and all from the shotgun ranks including reigning World Champion Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) and Junior World Champion Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) who finished tied for 10th.
Joining the 38-year-old Rhode as top honoree was 42-year-old Japanese pistol competitor Matsuda Tomoyuki. Vincent Hancock was the last USA Shooting Team member to earn Athlete of the Year honors from the ISSF following his 2015 season.
Despite six Olympic medals, three World Championship medals and 33 World Cup medals, this is Rhode’s first Athlete of the Year honor.
“It feels amazing! It’s been actually an incredible year for me, I worked so hard leading up to it, and it’s great to see it all come together. This is just an incredible honor, and I’m super excited,” Rhode said.
With a year that saw so many stellar performances from USA Shooting Team athletes, it took the near-Herculean task of winning two ISSF World Cup gold medals, one ISSF World Cup silver medal, a fourth-place finish at the ISSF World Championship and finishing off the year by winning the ISSF World Cup Final to earn to earn Rhode (El Monte, California) the distinction of USA Shooting Female Athlete of the Year and now ISSF Female Shooter of the Year.
After becoming the first Summer Olympian to win six medals in six straight Olympic appearances following a bronze-medal performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it would have been easy for Rhode to rest on her proverbial Olympic laurel wreath, but that’s never been an option the year following the Games for Rhode.
“I haven’t deliberately taken any years off after the Olympics,” she said. “It is a lot easier to maintain my shooting at a certain level rather than having to build back up because I didn’t train.”
With so many highlights to choose from, when pressed, Rhode said that her shoot-off with Olympic champion Diana Bacosi of Italy to win the World Cup Final topped them all.
“The World Cup Final is the crème de la crème of competitors and by invitation only. You have to be at the top of the game to be invited. To be competing with that talent and get into a shoot-off and go 22 straight in doubles, it doesn’t get much better.”
2017 ISSF Female Shooter of the Year Top-10
- Kimberly Rhode (USA)
- Yuemei Lin (CHN)
- Jessica Rossi (ITA)
- Shi Mengyao (CHN)
- Jolyn Beer (GER)
- Zhang Jingjing (CHN)
- Dania Jo Vizzi (USA)
- Ray Bassil (LBN)
- Andrea Arsovic (SRB)
- Katharina Monika Jacob (USA), Penny Smith (AUS)
The ISSF Shooter of the Year award is assigned by the International Shooting Sport Federation according to the vote of the ISSF Coaches Advisory Committee, the ISSF Athletes Committee and a selected panel of media representatives.
Matsuda and Rhode will be honored with the trophy during the 2018 ISSF Season, kicking-off in a few weeks in Guadalajara (MEX), where the first stage of the 2018 ISSF World Cup Series will take place from March 1-12.
Editorial support for this announcement provided by the International Shooting Sport Federation.
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