Australian shooter Catherine Skinner wasn’t expected to win gold in Rio.
But overnight, in a tense final with New Zealand’s Natalie Rooney, Skinner won her first ever major international competition. It just happened to be at the Olympic games.
It was a nail biting event, however, with Skinner missing her first target of the day. The 26-year-old then made 14/15 of her targets, making it through to the final with the top score of the six shooters. But as she competed for gold, she again missed her first target.
When Skinner’s Kiwi opponent nailed her first five, many thought it was over for the Australian from Mansfield, Victoria.
That’s the thing about Australians. We’re understated, and unassuming. Until we’re standing on a podium smiling with a huge gold medal.
When Skinner missed her fourth target, it really did look like it was over. Many were still proud of her, because it’s such an achievement to even make it into an Olympic final.
Then technical distractions became an issue. “We kept on having the issues with the microphone and no targets,” said Skinner.
“In a way I got so frustrated with it that I just wanted to see those targets smashed.”
“It kind of focused me and made me a bit more angry.”
So she made the rest of her shots. And Rooney missed four. The final score was 12-11, and you’ve never seen a more ecstatic gold medallist.
Speaking to the media following her win, Skinner said "It's one of those things that you say in the mirror before it all happens going 'yeah it's going to happen, it will!'"
"But at the moment it really happened? It's really hard to describe just how surreal this is."
The Olympic champion started shooting when she was 12. Speaking to the ABC, her father Ken Skinner, a farmer in Victoria, explained that she almost never got the opportunity to take up the sport.