Culture

'Little Known' Olympic Shooters Snubbed by Sponsors While Media Play Dumb

Olympic skeet shooter Kim Rhode (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

On Friday, American Olympic history was made when superstar skeet shooter Kim Rhode became the first American to medal in six consecutive Olympics.

The typical media coverage of stories involving a firearm obsesses over gun crime and includes giving gratuitous air time to anti-gun spokesmen like Moms Demand, idiot actors and politicians to sing their unchallenged propaganda.

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Above, USA Shooting expertly trolls the gun-ignorant British squawker Piers Morgan.

But following Rhode’s historic win, a different news angle has surfaced: the unknown, rejected stars of the USA shooting team.

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Above, a screen shot from Bloomberg News.

From Bloomberg News:

Landing a big-name sponsor might be the bigger feat. In the year leading up to Rio 2016, Rhode’s agent Patrick Quinn pitched her to around 20 companies that back the Olympics. None were convinced.

“The big mystery is how someone like Kim isn’t part of the Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and the Olympics sponsor push,’’ Quinn said by phone from Chicago. “It would be nice to have an Olympic sponsor recognize the magnitude of her accomplishment.’’

Coca-Cola Co. didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Procter & Gamble Co.’s spokesperson Damon Jones said in an e-mail the company receives hundreds of sponsorship requests so it must be selective. Rhode and other shooters on Team USA think the reason they’re passed over is obvious. The rise in gun violence and mass shootings in the US have attached a stigma to shooting as a sport, they say. So while companies like Winchester, Beretta and Otis Technology support Rhode, she doesn’t have a single sponsor from outside the firearm industry.

Rhode used to be sponsored by Nike. Not anymore.

A stigma you say? How did our Olympic shooting athletes become pariahs? Who is responsible for transmitting information to the public? It’s the same media that seem confused as to why these hardworking, dedicated individuals are completely marginalized.

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Above, a screen shot from the LA Times. If only there were some institution responsible for transmitting information to the public.

Skeet shooter Vincent Hancock, who will shoot on Saturday in his third Olympics for ANOTHER gold medal, explains: “A lot of times they say, well, we really like you, you’re great and your credentials speak for themselves, but we’re not sure how we can really fit you in. It seems like they want to, but don’t want to get caught up in the media backlash that may arise if something were to come about with, say, one of the shootings.’’

Precisely. It’s not that the competitive shooters have been demonized, it’s the media and their institutional left puppet masters that have demonized the gun as an object. The mere presence or possession of a gun in and of itself is unsavory and suspect. It’s as if the firearm causes its owner to become a bloodthirsty, murderous maniac instead of blaming a criminally minded, mentally deficient terrorist who is using an object for evil purposes.

Once you’ve demonized the gun as an object, the responsibility for criminals pulling the trigger magically disappears. We don’t have to consider things like Islamic terrorism (Orlando, San Bernardino) or mental illness (Sandy Hook, Aurora) or inner city cultural dynamics (Chicago), we just have to make sure no one can get their hands on a gun.

Within the confines of their self-selected narrative, how is the media supposed to cover and celebrate law-abiding, hardworking shooting athletes? How can the media continue to turn the public against firearms if they feature admirable, dedicated individuals behaving perfectly normal in the possession of a gun?

More importantly, how would the media and their institutional left co-conspirators be able to whip up a backlash against companies that do support shooting athletes if they weren’t demonizing anything and everything associated with firearms?

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Above, a screenshot from Yahoo News.

Less than a month ago, the media had the vapors over Ohio’s open carry law, predicting the RNC would quickly degenerate into a Thunderdome free-for-all, peppered with gunfire, blood and slaughter. Nothing of the sort happened, no one was shot or killed, and the media moved on without a mention. Just like there were no long, thoughtful pieces written about the 100 people who were shot in heavily gun-controlled Chicago last week.

The cost to shoot competitively is extraordinary.

The difference for shooters is the cost of training. Competition-level firearms price between $8,000-20,000. Between ammunition, clay pigeons and range fees, a day of training can run as high as $450. “It really adds up,’’ said Vincent Hancock, one of Rhode’s teammates. “I’ve only found two sports that are more expensive — anything to do with a horse, and car racing.’’

Adds up indeed. Six days a week at $450 a day is $2,700 weekly. With 52 weeks in a year, the cost is in the ballpark of $140,000 annually. And that doesn’t include travel expenses. In order to be considered for the Olympics, shooters have to compete and qualify all over the world. Added to the cost of competition travel is the cost to travel to facilities for practice. The trap and skeet fields at your local outdoor clay target range — if you even have one — are not the same as the game of Olympic trap or skeet. Not only are the targets smaller and faster for international trap and skeet, in the case of trap, it’s an entirely different set-up. Amateur trap has one trap in one house; Olympic traps have five trap machines in a much wider house. Serious competitors probably have to relocate or spend significant time in their car to practice.

The consequences of the media-assisted trashing of the firearm industry has certainly taken a toll on the few who continue to compete in Olympic sport shooting. The blame for the lack of sponsorships, corporate fear of backlashes, and the dearth of recognition lies entirely with the media. It’s astonishing to see them play dumb following Rhode’s historic triumph.

I don’t expect the media’s bias against all things firearms to end anytime soon. It’s up to you to support our Olympic shooters, so take a minute and visit USA Shooting and buy some gear. And then take your friends and family to your local gun range and bust some clay and shoot some targets.