Corey Cogdell-Unrein of Eagle River, Alaska, secured on Sunday her second Olympic bronze medal in women’s trap shooting, defeating Spain’s Fatima Galvez in a shootout after narrowly missing the gold medal match with a loss to New Zealand’s Natalie Rooney in the previous round.
Cogdell-Unrein won the bronze in women’s trap in 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Games, and participated (but did not medal) in London in 2012.
“They are very similar as I won bronze in 2008 in a shoot-off as well,” Cogdell-Unrein told TeamUSA.org. “But I think it is different, because in 2008 I was two years into the sport. Now I have been competing for almost 10 (years), so I am a different athlete and I felt more prepared coming into these Games.”
Competitors in women’s trap each shoot at 15 clay pigeons with the highest score advancing to the next round. Cogdell-Unrein and Galvez were tied with 13 hits apiece at the end of their match. In the sudden death shootout, Cogdell-Unrein hit her first target and Galvez missed.
“You can’t compare an Olympic shootoff to any other,” Cogdell-Unrein said in Rio late Sunday. “The pressure is unlike anything. You want it so bad.”
Codgell-Unrein name might sound to those unfamiliar with the world of women’s trap shooting because she recently married Chicago Bears lineman Mitch Unrein. Bears placekicker Robbie Gould posted a photo on Twitter of Bears players wearing “Team Unrein” shirts as they cheered on their teammate’s wife.
“I am pretty proficient,” Unrein told the Chicago Tribune. “I can’t even put it into words (how his wife shoots). You go out there and watch the Olympic shooters, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ Then you step on the line with the shotgun in your hand, and you call for the target. It is so fast. Normal American trap goes 35 to 40 mph. When they shoot, the angles are more severe, and they go 60 to 80 mph.”
Cogdell-Unrein told TeamUSA.org that she credits an improved shooting technique as the reason for her strong performance. “Over the last five years, I changed my shooting techniques maybe three or four times,” she said. “In the last year and a half, I have really been at the top of my sport. So, I felt confident coming into this and I knew if I executed, I could come away with a medal.”
The United States has another chance to medal in a women’s shotgun competition as five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode prepares to participate in the skeet competition this weekend.