Members of the United States Olympic shooting team have been down this road before, and they’re hopeful this summer’s Games won’t be as bad as 2012.
With gun control and massing shootings constantly receiving top-billed airplay on news stations 24 hours a day, it’s no surprise opinions from those representing the U.S. in shooting in this summer’s Olympic Games receive an overwhelming amount of attention and questions whenever the next national story makes headlines.
However, a feature by Tuscon.com provides more light for what the shooters experience, and it’s undoubtedly worse than the casual gun owner or hunter deal with.
Kim Rhode, who is competing this month to potentially becoming the first U.S. athlete to win medals in six straight Olympics, told Tuscon.com anytime a new mass shooting occurs she waits for her phone to ring, adding “I know the questions are coming.”
After Rhode won gold in skeet at the 2012 London Games, the second question asked to her was not about winning her second career gold but rather about the Aurora shooting that happened a few days earlier, the website reports.
But while for Rhode there’s an annoyance to it, for some it’s even worse.
Trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein needed extra protection at the 2012 Games after a hunting video was posted on her Facebook page without her knowledge, Tuscon.com reports. Then, after she won bronze, thousands signed a petition to have her stripped of her media.
“Unfortunately, there were people who decided to hone in on me as a public figure at the time and they wanted to push their agenda of trying to stop animal cruelty and hunting,” Cogdell-Unrein told Tuscon.com. “Hopefully that will not happen again. If it does, I will be better prepared for it this time. I definitely don’t support animal cruelty and a lot of the things they were saying I was a part of.”
Travel and purchasing ammunition has also become more of an issue recently.
California recently signed a law requiring background checks for anyone purchasing ammo, which for Rhode, who burns through up to 1,000 shotgun shells in training, creates cause for concern for proper preparation, the website reports.
Tuscon.com reports Rhode also had an issue flying from San Marino when her flight was delayed for hours because security officials were concerned she had multiple shotguns and ammo in her luggage.
Jay Shi, an airgun and pistol shooter who will be competing in his first Olympics this month, had a similar experience, the website reports, having to wait nearly 4 hours in China while his bullets were hand counted and his pistol examined.
“The rule is not to touch the gun, but they took it out and were looking at it,” Shi told Tuscon.com. “I was freaking because now they’re waving a gun all around.”
It appears America is so consumed in a gun-control debate that it can’t even support its own without asking questions.