By Lars Dalseide | June 1 2012 14:44

Top Shot Olympian Gabby Franco - photo courtesy of Gabby
Top Shot Olympian Gabby Franco - photo courtesy of Gabby
Gabriela “Gabby” Franco was a world-class shooter before stepping on stage for Season 4 of History Channel's Top Shot. As a member of Venezuela's international pistol team, she developed a perseverance that would ultimately land her here in the United States.
The fortunes of Gabby Franco turned in the summer of 2000. She had just competed in the Olympic Games. Traveled halfway across the world to Australia. While the whirlwind of excitement and possibilities resulted in an almost unparalleled collection of memories, she would go home without a medal.

Previous efforts on the international stage always appeared to top out at Silver. Taking what she learned during her years of training, and what she witnessed during the weeks of olympic excellence in Sydney, Gabby took the next step in her development. Everything — the year of dry firing, the time away from family, the countless hours of sacrifice — was about to pay off.

“I started winning gold,” said Franco. “the 2000 South American Games gold, the 2001 Bolivarian Games gold, and in my final match, the 2002 South American Games, I won three gold medals.

“It’s about achieving a level of maturity. There are certain things that take years to learn, about yourself and your sport."

The 2002 South American Games in Rio de Janeiro would prove to be her last. Her sudden dominance provided the necessary confidence to ask for more. It was time to make a move. A big one.

Coming to America

“Everybody thinks about coming to the US, but you don’t really know how to get there.”
While in Sydney for the Olympic Games, Franco had several discussions with a Venezuelan tennis player about emigrating to the United States. There was a chance that her special set of skills would earn her passage to America.

Gabby Franco at the NRA Convention
Gabby Franco at the NRA Convention
“I applied for an ‘extraordinary ability’ Visa, gave documentation to prove that I could contribute to this country, and in a year I received my green card.

“I became a citizen in 2009 and recently got my voter registration card — which is very important to me.”

After six years of working in the American firearms industry, Franco decided it was time for a more hands on approach. One of her most treasured memories is that of her time on the range. Learning the basics, the tricks of the trade, the details surrounding what it takes to be a world-class shooter.

“I loved the process so much, I just wanted to share that experience with others.”

The traits that help make her one heck of an NRA Certified Instructor.

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