Top Shot's Gabby Franco tries out a scope at the NRA Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.
St. Louis, Missouri - Most of the world will assemble in their living rooms this summer to watch world class athletes compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Men and women who sacrificed time, sweat and family to be the best in their field. People like Gabby Franco.
“I was eighteen and so excited,” Gabby smiled. “It was like a dream come true.”
After her Silver Medal success at the Bolivarian Games, her first official competition, the soon to be NRA Certified Instructor continued with her international shooting schedule. Earning silver after silver, those on the Venezuelan Olympic Committee began taking notice. There was little left to decide after Franco’s performance at the Pan American Games.
Gabby Franco talks with a fan at the NRA Convention
“I was upset that I kept winning silver medals. Why not gold? Then they asked if I wanted to go to Sydney. I couldn’t believe I was going to the Olympics, that I earned such an honor.”
Joining forty-nine countrymen and women, Franco was now part of elite group. Unlike the rest of us, who watch from afar, she was now shoulder to shoulder with the top athletes in the world.
“Walking into the stadium back in 2000 … it was like the movies. You see camera flashes, people cheer and your heart is spinning like ‘Oh my god I’m here’! It was incredible … probably the best experience ever.”
Unfortunately, like the rest of those on the Venezuelan team, Gabby failed to medal.
“I never expected to be on an Olympic team,” she reflected. “I was a little nervous and wish I had more time to prepare, but I’m glad to have earned a spot on the team Like everyone else there, I did my best with what I had.”
And though she did not walk away with a medal, she does have something from Sydney that’s almost as good.
“Every time someone asks, every time I tell the story, I relive it every time. It’s like I’m there again.”