January 29th, 2009

Olympian Kim Rhode Recovers Medal-Winning Perazzi

Kim RhodeKim Rhode has competed in four Olympic Games for the United States, winning Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in shotgun events. She won those medals with a cherished Perazzi MX12 shotgun, a firearm used by Kim throughout her competitive shooting career. Rhode took her trusty 12-gauge Perazzi to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and became the youngest female gold medalist in the history of Olympic shooting. She won a bronze in double trap at the the 2000 Sydney Games and then won her second gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games. In her 4th Olympic Games, she won a silver medal in skeet shooting in Beijing.

Sadly, Rhode’s gold-medal-winning Perazzi was stolen last September in Lake Elsinore, California, when thieves smashed the window of her truck and grabbed the shotgun which was stored in a locked case.

The theft was highly publicized, and Perazzi generously provided Rhode with a replacement. However, she still missed the trusty MX12 that had carried her to so many victories. She told the media last September: “there’s just no words to describe what the gun means to me…(it’s) a part of me. I’ve traveled all over the world with it.”

Well, there is a happy ending to the story. This week, Rhode was re-united with her Olympic scattergun. On Jan. 27th, Rhode received a call from the Riverside, CA Sheriff’s Department. It turns out that, during a parole inspection at the residence of convicted felon Gergorio Macias, Sheriff’s deputies found the shotgun, still in the original case. The gun itself was undamaged — except for the fact that Macias (or the original thieves) had removed the stickers and decals Rhode had collected over many seasons of international competition.

Rhode was reunited with her Olympic shotgun at a press conference in California this week. She says she plans to use her “old friend” in her quest to compete at the 2012 Olympics in London. According to Jim Shepherd, of the Outdoor Wire, Rhode declared: “I’m planning on getting more stickers… and I plan to include one from London (the next Olympics). This has helped me decide that for the next Olympics, I’m sure going for it.”

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