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One year on from Skinner's Trap Gold

7 August 2017

RIO 2016: On this day in 2016, Catherine Skinner became Australia’s fifth Olympic shooting gold medallist when she took out the women’s trap event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

One year on, Catherine Skinner relives this historical moment and shares how her life has changed since becoming an Olympic Champion.

What are your memories of the Olympics?
I remember it as being a huge supportive team. It wasn’t about the shooting team, swimming team or water polo team, it was Team Australia.

I remember sitting in the stands along side archers and divers comparing notes and finding that so many experiences were common. It really was one big party filled with so many like-minded people, and that was really validating.

Shooting - Olympics: Day 2

What are your memories of your competition?
I remember the competition as a big roller coaster.

I remember having a rough start, then the weather changed for the worse. In my second round we were stopped because the wind had blown the barriers towards us on the range. It was a really difficult to keep focused when I could hear steel scraping and people screaming.

After that round I thought I was done, and I decided to talk to my friends and family. Looking back it was the right thing, as it had calmed me, and released so much pressure. The final round of qualification was my best for the day, and I was tied for the final spot in the final.

Those targets in the sudden death shoot off were the most nervous I had ever been. After I won that shoot off I doubled over, because my stomach was in knots. But I had made the final, and the slate was wiped clean. I strangely relaxed, and felt no pressure. I was 6th, and I could do no worse.

And the rest is history.

Shooting - Olympics: Day 2

What did it mean for you to hear the Australian anthem play standing on the podium?
To be honest I was still reeling from the win. It is very surreal standing on the podium and hearing that familiar song play, and realising I had done it.

It's pretty difficult to put the emotions in words.

What was it like when you returned home to your family and friends?
It was both exciting and terrifying coming home. Exciting because I knew I was coming home to a big party and they were so proud, but also terrifying because I didn't know what to expect out of the win.

I was so focused in my goal of going to the Olympics that I had never considered what I would do if I won, and I was still trying to come to terms with the change of being ‘just an athlete’ to ‘Olympic Gold Medallist’.

It has, for one I am recognised a lot more than I was before.

Most of the change has been in exploring options that have opened up post Rio. I don't think people realise just how much of a roller coaster it is post Olympics for the medallists, and for me it was particularly chaotic since I didn’t even entertain the idea of 'what if I win'.

I’m still figuring out what my next move is, but the medal has opened so many doors that I didn’t even know existed.

Shooting - Olympics: Day 2

What have you done in the year since your success?
From the end of the Olympic Games to the end of January I was bouncing around with media commitments and trying to make sense of all it. As cliché as it sounds, it's a whirlwind, as I didn't know what I was doing day-to-day, let alone a few weeks out.

February I spent the month travelling Japan, and enjoying my long awaited skiing holiday. It was fantastic, as I was out of contact and I could get some perspective.

When I returned I realised that I wasn't ready to return to competitive sport, that I needed to put some time into my life outside of sport. So I took an opportunity that came my way and did a 3 month work placement with Dow Chemical, allowing me to put my Chemical Engineering degree to use.

When that wrapped up I came back to competitive shooting, and I am currently preparing for our World Championships to be held in Moscow at the end of August.

Catherine Skinner

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