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El Monte's 'Rhode' to Olympic silver

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image ap"><span>AP</span></div><span class="caption-text">Germany&#39;s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum rides Shutterfly during a jump off for the bronze medal in the equestrian individual Show Jumping competition during the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008. Michaels-Beerbaum finished in fourth place. (Susan Walsh)</span></div>
August 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
When it comes to giving Olympic skeet shooting coverage, the powers that be are a little gun-shy, but that did not stop many in El Monte from following Kim Rhode early this morning as she captured the silver medal."The community's been calling. They've been watching on the Internet. They have been saying, 'She got the silver. She got the silver. How great,'" said El Monte Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki.

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.


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