The mayor of El Monte, Ernie Gutierrez, was so proud of Rhode that he washed her car Thursday -- the same one she bought after winning gold in Atlanta. Rhode also won gold in Athens, but both wins were in double trap shooting. That event was eliminated from Olympic competition after 2004. So, Rhode switched to skeet shooting, which she compared to going from swimming to diving.
"She decided she'd just go into skeet instead, and I feel sorry for some of the skeet shooters who didn't expect Kim to come into their sport," said Matt Weintraub from El Monte. "She did so good. She knocked them out of the Olympic race for United States, and there she is instead, and she wins the silver. It's just great."
There is a long history of Olympians coming out of the city of El Monte, dating back to a wrestler in 1928. However, none have enjoyed success quite like Rhode who won a medal Thursday in her fourth consecutive Olympic Games.
"I've been watching that medal total everyday, and so just to see one more racked in there and brought back by Kim is just very exciting," said Jeff Seymour, El Monte School District.
"She's a great little girl," said Nita Rusche, Rhode's former neighbor. "I wish she was my daughter."
Even if the locals did not see it, Rhode's story has a silver lining.