First off, before I get started ranting, I want to say a big ole CONGRATULATIONS to the U.S. Women's Shooting Olympian, Corey Cogdell for bringing home the Bronze Metal in the Womens Trap event.
Now, back to ranting.
You know what is missing in the Olympics nearly every year? More Medal winners in the Archery and Shooting events!
I mean, c'mon, are we not a "Nation of Riflemen"? Don't you think that a Nation of Riflemen could produce Olympians who could bring home Medals from the Olympics in the Shooting and Archery fields?
I'm looking over one of today's (day 4) Shooting event, the Men's 50 Meter Pistol and the nearest U.S. competitor is #14.
All is not lost, there are several more competitions coming up. There is still the Women's 50 meter Standard Rifle, Women's 25 meter Sport Pistol, Men's 50 meter Free Rifle Prone, Men's 25 meter Rapid Fire Pistol and the Men's 50 meter Free Rifle 3 Position. I'm hoping we can at least get one of those Medals!
Archery isn't much better when it comes down to the Olympics. Geez, does anyone shoot targets any more? Where are all these so called Hot Shot 3D Tournament shooters when you need them? Apparently shooting one of those big ole Round targets is harder than shooting foam animals.
Can anyone remember the last time we won a Medal in either sport? Seems like I remember us winning one at Atlanta in the Shooting Sports, but I could be wrong.
You want to know why we don't have more Medal winners in the Outdoor Sports like Archery and Shooting?
Plain ole greedy Money.
For some reason, the TV Networks and the Olympic Committee do not consider Archery and Shooting as a huge money-pulling crowd pleaser. So they only air the "pretty" competitions like Swimming, Gymnastics, Tennis and Volleyball.
Don't get me wrong, I like the Beach Volleyball and Swimming, but I'd rather be watching our Men and Women beating the world in Shooting events and Archery!
But the Networks will never cover it because the crowds would get restless! Plus, it's not Politically Correct to show the Shooting and Archery sports in a positive light.
You know another reason we don't have the Olympians in the shooting sports like the Countries of Belarus, China and Korea? (can anyone find Belarus on a Globe)?
Because our Olympians are not supported by the U.S. Government.
In countries like China, Cuba and others, the government of those countries support the athletes (and their families in many cases) while they train and compete.
Not so here in the U.S.
Not only do they support them financially, but most of these countries also provide them the best equipment and trainers money can buy.
Our athletes must support their self if they hope to compete.
Sure, there are corporate sponsors and private donations. There's also some fundraising. But all this still takes energy away from training.
By the way, just a ADD side-note here...isn't it ironic that some of the more successful countries with successful Shooting programs in the Olympics are also some that have the strictest gun laws? ie; China, Japan, Korea...
Now don't get me wrong, I really love all our Men and Women who are competing for our country. I love watching the Swimming Team kick the Frenchy French's butts the other night after the French said they would "crush the Americans". Yeah, how well did that work out for ya Frenchy?
And two of the proudest moments that I was an American came when the underdog U.S Hockey Team beat the Russians in Hockey and when Kerri Strugg stuck that one legged landing in Women's Gymnastics to beat the Russians in Atlanta. As it turned out, they would have won anyway, but at the time it was so close that it was thought that Kerri had to do well in order for the Women to take home the Gold. Hell, some of the toughest and roughest Rednecks I knew had tears of pride after watching that.
I also know our Men and Women in the Shooting and Archery sports are dedicated and athletes every bit as much as anyone on any other Olympic team.
But I still feel more could be done.
For one thing, all of us should contribute something to the U.S. Shooting Team or U.S. Archery teams.
But Corporate and Private sponsors need to really step up to help our athletes out. I just looked at the Sponsors page on the U.S. Shooting Team's website and was shocked that I didn't find Corporate sponsors like Cabela's, Bass Pro, Remington, Savage Arms, Wal-Mart and many other Corporations who make money by selling Sporting Goods. Perhaps as Consumers we need to let these companies know we expect them to support our Shooting athletes as well?
The TV Networks could also help out by giving the Shooting and Archery competitions some freakin' airtime!
Okay, I really need to wrap this up because I'm only getting more and more upset thinking about it!
We can all do our part as U.S. Citizens by donating to the U.S. Shooting Team by clicking here. The U.S. Archery Team has made it easy to donate simply by going to their site and clicking on the Golden Bag before you head off to do your online shopping. When you do that, a portion of your online purchases will go back to the U.S. Archery Team.
UPDATE: About an hour after I posted this, I read where the American Shooter Glen Eller took Gold in the Men's Double Trap! Now that's what I'm talking about, we need more Glen Ellers! Also, American Jeff Holguin finished 4th behind China's Binyuen Hu. Looks like Jeff missed the Bronze by 2 points! Congratulations to these American Shooting Olympians!
UPDATE: 8/16/2008 - Just to bring you up to date, here are a few more Olympic Medal winners in Shooting.
Vincent Hancock won Men's Gold Medal in Skeet (125 targets)
Matt Emmons won a Silver Medal for Men's 50 meter Free Rilfe Prone (60 shots)
Kimberly Rhode won a Silver Medal in Women's Skeet (75 targets)
Congratulation to all our American Shooters in the Beijing Olympics.