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Olympian Kim Rhode shares the pros and cons of shooting as a sport

Shooter, Kim Rhode, smiles as she celebrates yet another victory in the Olympics.
Shooter, Kim Rhode, smiles as she celebrates yet another victory in the Olympics.

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California native Kim Rhode has some serious hardware in her house. She's a five-time Olympic medal winner, thanks to her skills in skeet and double trap shooting.

But her sport has also led to some unwelcome attention, especially in the wake of any mass shootings. 

Rhode is making her final preparations for the summer games, but took a few moments to tell Take Two about shooting as a sport.

First, a primer:

"In international skeet, you have a high and a low house. You have seven stations set in a half semi-circle, with the eighth station being in the middle. You have to start with the gun at your hip, and when you call pull the bird can come out the second you call pull, or anywhere at random."

What traveling with a gun is like:

"Traveling with your firearm is a little tricky, to say the least, especially if you're going into other countries. There's a lot of people, a lot of things, a lot of hoops we have to jump through. And usually for something like the Olympics,  it's going to be a little bit of a wait in the customs office once we arrive. Our guns will be taken at the airport and taken straight to the shooting facility, and we won't see them until the day before our event. So we'll get, literally three rounds of practice and then it's go time for the match."

How she handles the negative attention from mass shootings:

"After the London Games, I had just won an Olympic medal and the first question I got asked wasn't, 'What is it like representing your country?' or 'What does it feel like to see the flag go to the top of the pole?' ...It was, 'Can you comment on Aurora?' Which, you know, really kind of take you aback. Obviously our heart breaks for the victims and the family members and everything, and our heart goes out to them. But at the end of the day our sport is something completely different. It teaches responsibility, discipline, focus and really has nothing to do with any of those events."

Does the excitement of the Olympics ever wear off?

"In all the Olympics I've been to, this will be my sixth in Rio, I have to say yo still get nervous, you still get those butterflies, your knees still knock. I think that's what makes the Olympics so unique. It's really about the journey it took to get there, we've been training for over four years for that singular moment, and this is it. So, definitely you have the nerves going, and I don't think you ever get over it. It never gets old."

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.