Rhode leads after qualifying of women's skeet
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By TIM REYNOLDS,
Updated July 29, 2012
LONDON (AP) Kimberly Rhode has moved a step closer to U.S. Olympic history.
Rhode set an Olympic record by missing only one of 75 targets in the qualifying round of women's skeet shooting on Sunday, easily getting herself into the medal round - where she will aim to become the first American to win an individual-sport medal in five consecutive Olympics.
"I'm going through a lot of emotions right now, but the honor of representing my country is what it's really all about at this moment," Rhode said before the final. "I think it's going to be incredible, whatever the outcome."
Her score of 74 topped the previous Olympic mark of 72 posted by Chiara Cainero of Italy four years ago. Rhode is also the world-record holder, having scored a perfect 75 earlier this year.
"Three down one more to go....," Rhode tweeted after the qualifying session.
Rhode is a four-time Olympic medalist, with golds in her collection from the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2004 Athens Games.
Rhode was a perfect 25-for-25 in each of the first two sessions, then ran her streak to 65 straight hits before her lone qualifying misfire. Several people watching on a chilly, rainy day at the Royal Artillery Barracks sighed in disbelief at the miss, which Rhode shrugged off with ease.
When her session was over, she flipped the last of the empty shells from her gun, gave a brief fist-pump, followed by a wave and a smile. Rhode thanked several well-wishers as she walked away, moments before rain started falling significantly harder.
Danka Bartekova of Slovakia was second in qualifying after hitting 70 targets. Marina Belikova of Russia was third after the session, scoring a 69 in the three opening rounds.
The field started with 17 women from 17 nations, before getting pared to six for the final later Sunday.