The 2012 Summer Games are about a week away and there’s no one we’re cheering for harder than Corey Cogdell. The 24-year-old trapshooter from Alaska is a serious hunter and an OL kind of girl at heart. Last year while Corey was training for London, we got the chance to interview her and gain a little insight on life as an Olympic athlete. Read her profile here and watch her compete on August 4. __ -Photos: Corey Cogdell and USA Shooting
Corey is the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in trapshooting — she took home a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games. But she wasn’t always a crack shot with a shotgun. Corey grew up in Alaska where her parents taught her how to hunt and shoot (she started shooting air rifles at age three). The focus was almost always on big game.
Corey has killed moose, bear, caribou and blacktail deer in her home state of Alaska.
When she was about 14, Corey took up competitive shooting.
Once introduced to trap, she gladly swapped her rifle for a shotgun. “I liked seeing something explode instead of just punching a hole in paper,” Corey says.
A child prodigy Corey was not, and her first time on the trapshooting range was unremarkable. She broke only 3 out of 25 targets.
But after some practice at a local shooting club (called Birchwood Recreation and Shooting), Corey began to excel in the sport.
At age 16, she was competing at a national level and whipping the veteran male shooters at her club. “When I started beating the boys, I knew that this was something I had a knack for,” Corey says.
She would hand out little clay target pins to all of her defeated opponents that said “Beat by a Girl,” to wear on their shooting vests. “All of the men from the club took it really well, they were always supportive of me,” Corey says.
She continued to improve and went on to make the U.S. Olympic team. But, she was brand new to the international format of trapshooting and entered the 2008 Games in China as a huge underdog. “Going in, I definitely had realistic expectations,” Corey says. “I was just going to go in there and do my best.”
Surprising everyone, including herself, Corey made it into a four-way sudden death shoot-off for the bronze medal. “At that point [in my career] my ability had grown faster than my confidence,” Corey says.
The group drew straws to decide what order to shoot in and Corey drew the last position. She watched as her three opponents missed their first shots. All she had to do was make hers and she’d take home a bronze medal. It would be the most important shot of her career. “Your nerves just overtake you, my whole body was shaking. It felt like even my eyeballs were shaking,” Corey says.
Corey made the shot and took home the medal. And now, she has her sights set on the 2012 games. To train, she’s been on the range almost seven days a week for six hours at a time.
Here’s Corey describing a day of training on her blog: “A typical day training here in Texas starts at about 8 a.m. with a quick breakfast then a short drive out to the range. We will open the range then get straight to work, we will shoot rounds of 25 targets, run drills or stage little competitions between myself and some of the other shooters. The shooting runs from about 9:30 to 2:30, around 3:00 I head to the gym for an afternoon workout that usually consists of cardio, lots of abs and some light upper body as I try not to wear out my arms because there is more shooting to come. After workout I head back to the range for a quick snack then another hour or so of shooting before calling it a day.”
Corey’s fierce competitive nature is probably one of her biggest assets as a shooter. “You don’t even want to play a board game with me, because if I loose, you’ll never here the end of it,” Corey says.
When she’s not training, Corey is hunting wherever she can. She went to Africa in May 2011 to hunt zebra for the television show Safari Hunter’s Journal. The hunt was no ride-and-shoot excursion. Corey and her party hiked for miles and she eventually suffered heatstroke. But in the end, she got her zebra. “That was the hardest hunt I’ve ever been on,” Corey says. “[That zebra] is probably one of the animals I treasure the most.”
Her interests don’t stop at hunting and shooting either. She also went to a cooking school for two years, she likes to work on old cars and she was a competitive skier in high school.
To learn more about Corey go to: http://www.usashooting.com/
Corey Cogdell, an avid big-game hunter, won a bronze medal in trapshooting in the 2008 Olympic games. Now she is training for gold in 2012.