Hancock and Rhode Receive USA Shooting Athlete of the Year Honors; Farmer Named Paralympic Athlete of the Year, McPhail Rifle Athlete of the Year

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (January 3, 2019)

USA Shooting is proud to announce two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia, pictured second) and six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California, pictured top) have been named USA Shooting’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2018.

Also receiving honors are Taylor Farmer (Castalia, Ohio, pictured bottom) as Paralympic Athlete of the Year and two-time Olympian Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, pictured third) as Rifle Athlete of the Year. These awards were determined by a points system where points were earned based on finishes at competitions throughout the year. Find out more about that points system here

With a year that saw so many stellar performances from USA Shooting Team athletes, it took the near-Herculean performances of our Male and Female Athletes of the Year to secure those awards. Rhode won silver at the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship and the Championship of the Americas, but she also won gold at the ISSF World Cups in Tucson, Arizona, Changwon, South Korea and Guadalajara, Mexico. At each World Cup stop, Rhode equaled her own World Record or bested her record from the previous World Cup in Finals and in Qualification. With these strong performances throughout 2018, Rhode earned her sixth USA Shooting Female Athlete of the Year award. She also received the award in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2017. In 2016, Rhode was named USA Shooting Female Shotgun Athlete of the Year. 

Rhode’s toughest competition in 2018 came from her own teammates that continually challenged her in international Finals, including 2018 ISSF World Champion Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), who picked up two silver medals on the ISSF World Cup circuit, as well as 2018 Championship of the Americas winner Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado/USAMU), who won a silver and a bronze in World Cup competition in 2018.

For Hancock, winning his fourth World Championship title in 2018 by equaling the Qualification and Finals World records (missing just one target over the 125 targets in Qualification and 60 targets in the Final) was just another crowning achievement on an already stellar season. Hancock won gold at the three ISSF World Cups in which he competed in 2018, including equaling his own world record of 59/60 targets in the Final at the World Cups in Siggiewi, Malta and Changwon, South Korea. Hancock also won USA Shooting Male Athlete of the Year honors in 2005, 2012 and 2015.

McPhail was named Rifle Athlete of the Year for his bronze-medal win in Men’s Three-Position Rifle at the ISSF World Championship in Changwon, South Korea. The two-time Olympian and former Prone Rifle specialist is showing the fruits of his labor in his new specialty, steadily climbing up the standings in 2018, culminating in his World Championship finish. McPhail also narrowly missed out on a Finals spot at the World Cup stage on his home range in Fort Benning, Georgia where he finished in 10th place.

Farmer earned the Paralympic Athlete of the Year nod for the first time for her breakout performances at the World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) World Cup in Chateauroux, France where she picked up two bronze medals in R2 (Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1) and R8 (Women’s Three-Position Rifle Standing SH1). At just 20 years old, Farmer also set a Junior World Record with her Finals score of 427.6 in R8. Though she narrowly missed a Paralympic Games quota in each of these events, Farmer is proving she’s a force in the Paralympic Shooting scene.