History-chasing US shooter Kim Rhode has had a rough and lonely build-up to her Olympic bid after flight cancellations forced her to miss her team training camp… before her puppy ate her ticket.
Rhode, seeking to become the first American to win individual medals at five Summer Games in a row, went to the airport in Los Angeles on Friday intending to fly to Copenhagen in Denmark for the training camp.
But the first leg of her flight — to Newark — was twice cancelled and as timed ticked away she eventually flew direct to London, arriving on Tuesday.
Speaking during training at the sun-baked Royal Artillery Barracks on Wednesday, Rhode said she was tired after her ordeal but was upbeat about her Olympic chances.
“I’ve had a little bit of a problem with the airlines getting here,” said the 33-year-old.
“I stayed home, trained there and then came directly from LA to London so essentially I didn’t get all the time adjustment. I’m a little jet-lagged but other than that, things are good.”
Adding to the stress, Rhode’s husband initially could not find his passport and her four-month-old white puppy devoured her re-issued ticket.
“My husband lost his passport and couldn’t find it. My dog ate my ticket…. I know that sounds crazy but I can honestly say and I have the pictures to prove that really happened. It’s not just an excuse.”
The missing passport was located and the ticket was reprinted after it was eaten by the toy poodle called Norman — dubbed “hell on wheels” by Rhode.
When asked whether the dramas of the past few days had affected her, a relaxed Rhode said: “It’s like anything. You just roll with the punches and hope for the best.”
“You can’t really let it get to you. If you did, you’d be in trouble before you even started so you just have to let things go,” she said, adding she had even managed to pack in moving three pianos and buying a car in the run-up to her departure.
“I feel tired because I’m jet-lagged but I think that through it all I have five or six days to adjust, be better prepared sleep-wise essentially, which is right now what’s affecting me the most but I’m essentially happy with where I’m at at this moment,” she said.
Rhode, taking part in the women’s trap and the skeet, said she was looking forward to the arrival of her team-mates on Wednesday, ahead of the start of shooting events on Saturday.
“It is very different to be travelling, going through all the things by yourself. At the Olympics you have the support of everybody, everybody’s going through the same things so it’s been a bit of a challenge,” she said.
“Some of them sent me some well wishes on Twitter and Facebook. I know they’re having a blast in Denmark. They’ve gone and seen ZZ Top and have been training really hard — a lot of team-building going on there. I’m kind of bummed that I missed that,” she added.
Rhode, seeking her fifth straight medal and her third gold overall, said her chance to make history was in the back of her mind but she was feeling relaxed.
“There’s a certain added element of pressure when you come to an event like the Olympics to begin with. When you add in the achievements there’s an element of pressure. However, as it’s my fifth I’m feeling very comfortable with it.”