On the Rhode to a U.S. record

Posted: July 30, 2012

STEP ASIDE, Carl Lewis. You, too, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Al Oerter.

Meet Kimberly Rhode, the first American with individual medals in five straight Olympics, after a golden, record-setting, nearly perfect performance.

Rhode won the women's skeet shooting Sunday, tying a world record and setting the Olympic mark with 99 points - meaning she missed once in 100 shots. She was eight targets better than silver medalist Wei Ning of China and nine better than Slovakia's Danka Bartekova.

Rhode won in double trap at Atlanta as a teenager in 1996, took bronze in that event 4 years later at Sydney, reclaimed the gold at Athens in 2004 and won the silver in skeet at Beijing in 2008.

Now, golden again.

"It's just been an incredible journey," said Rhode, strands of glitter intertwined with her blonde hair. "And ultimately, I couldn't be happier for bringing home the gold for the United States."

Lewis, Oerter, Joyner-Kersee and Bruce Baumgartner are the other Americans recognized as individual medal-winners in four straight Summer Olympics. Rhode's at five now, and at 33 years old, she's not planning to stop anytime soon.

"I would like to learn from her," said Wei, the silver medalist, looking at Rhode and smiling.

Rhode becomes the eighth U.S. woman with at least five individual Olympic medals - speedskater Bonnie Blair and Joyner-Kersee each have six, while Shirley Babashoff, Janet Evans, Shannon Miller, Amanda Beard and Natalie Coughlin also have five.

Pretty good company, by any measure.

"No one has ever shot 100 in this style of shooting," said Bartekova, who has a 99 in competition. "With Kim shooting like this, it's not going to take a long time."

Rhode was 25-for-25 in each of the first two qualifying sessions, then ran her streak to 65 straight hits before her lone misfire. Several people who braved a chilly, rainy day at the Royal Artillery Barracks sighed in disbelief at the miss, which Rhode shrugged off with ease.

"I just missed," she said.

She didn't miss again.

"Unbelievable, isn't it?" said her father and coach, Richard Rhode.

Noteworthy * 

Medal favorite Spain was eliminated from men's soccer in a 1-0 upset loss after Honduras forward Jerry Bengtson scored an early goal.

Three players combined for Bengtson's third of the tournament during a break down the left in the seventh minute. Andy Najar passed to fellow midfielder Roger Espinoza, who fired in a cross as Bengtson cut inside. The striker jumped over a defender to power in a header past Spain goalkeeper David de Gea.

Spain had hoped to hold three major titles at once after winning the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship. But the country will go home without a chance to compete for a medal after it plays its last match against Morocco on Wednesday. And if it doesn't score, it will also return without a goal, after losing to Japan on Thursday, 1-0.

* North Korea's Om Yun Chol said he wanted to lift a big weight and make the other athletes nervous.

He definitely nailed that strategy. Om, standing all of 5 feet and 123 pounds, won a gold medal by confidently lifting an Olympic-record 370 pounds in the clean and jerk.

Only a handful of people have lifted more than three times their body weight, and this one came out of nowhere.

Om was in the "B" group with lower-ranked competitors and lifted weights of 160 and 165 kilograms on his first two attempts early in the day. He got the crowd roaring when it was announced he would go for 168 kilograms - the Olympic record.

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