By Lars Dalseide | January 12 2013 10:14

Spirit, spunk and drive takes Gabby from Venezuela to Olympics to Top Shot

Top Shot's Gabby Franco trying out a rifle during the NRA Convention in St. Louis
Top Shot's Gabby Franco tries out a scope at the NRA Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

The contestants from History Channel's hit show Top Shot have been incredibly generous with their time and insight over the years. Everyone from Iain Harrison to Chris Reed, Mike Hughes, George Reinas, Dustin Ellermann, Greg Littlejohn, Terry Vaughan and Chris Cheng have shared stories about their experience in life and on the show.

While all were impressive, there was one who stood out ... NRA Certified Instructor Gabriela “Gabby” Franco.

There are dozens of reasons why.

Because her father demanded a year's worth of dry firing before finally allowing her on the range. Would you have lasted that long before moving on? Because, as a member of Venezuela's international pistol team, she represented her country in Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games. How many people have accomplished such a feat? Because she ultimately found a way to make it here to America.

There are dozens of reasons why, but the reason I picked Gabby Franco as my second best story of Top Shot Olympian Gabby Franco - photo courtesy of Gabby2012 is probably the same reason why America fell in love with Gabby during her time on Top Shot. Her spirit.

Always with a laugh, a smile, a word of encouragement for all in need, Gabby inspired millions of viewers by repeatedly beating back the boys with her pinpoint accuracy and take no prisoners competitiveness. And the fact that she was the first female to make it to the green shirts didn't hurt her popularity too much either.

When we sat down with Gabby at the Annual Meeting in St. Louis, everything we saw on the screen that season came to life. The smile, the cheer, the intensity when required, Gabby was all we had hoped for and more.

That's why Gabby Franco is #2 on my Best of 2012 list.

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