Meet Australian shooter Catherine Skinner. She just won Olympic gold.

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.

Catherine Skinner celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's trap event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Image via Getty.


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.

"I took her brother out to the gun club," he said.

"He was keen on guns, and that was a good way of teaching him how to use a gun ... and Catherine followed us around and reckoned it looked alright and had a go at it.

"She took it up when she turned 12 and could get a junior permit."

He still hasn't spoken to his daughter following her win, and says "her phone wouldn't have stopped ringing. She's too busy with the media at the moment."

Skinner's mum Anne told The Age her daughter had considered giving up the sport several times.


"It's kind of difficult to maintain priorities," she said. "[Friends] don't quite understand why you'd rather go shooting for a weekend while they're out partying or getting an assignment done."

University was particularly challenging. Skinner graduated with a chemical engineering degree from RMIT, but it took her eight years.

"There were quite a few times that the lecturers were getting really sick of me, because I had to reschedule all of my exams,"she says.

So what's the secret to winning gold? Does Catherine Skinner have some sort of lucky charm?

It would seem she has a very unique night-before ritual. She says she eats a pint of Ben and Jerry's Triple Caramel Choc Chunk before each competition.

Hmmm, interesting.

Excuse us while we see if Skinner's strategy works for us.