July 12, 2012, Byron Scarbrough
Becoming an Olympian is a lifelong ambition and a one in a million shot. Ohio State Buckeye Varsity Rifle shooter Amanda Furrer started working on that goal at age eleven, and this month she will represent the United States in the Thirtieth Olympic Games in London. Earlier this week I had a chance to ask her what it’s like to realize that dream and join the Olympic team.
• Where are you training now and what is your daily training regimen like?
Amanda: Right now I’m training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I shoot for 3-6 hours a day and work out in the afternoons. I practice each of my three shooting positions and do drills during practice. When I workout I lift weights three days a week and do cardio on the other days.
• Has the aura of being “an Olympian” and all that entails (like having to do interviews) been a distraction to you? If so, how do you regroup?
Amanda: I don’t really get distracted by those types of things. I enjoy doing interviews and everything that has come with being an Olympian. It is still so crazy for me to call myself an Olympian. I think I handle it all very well though. I know exactly what I need to take care of to succeed and I don’t let anything else get in my way. If I didn’t want to do any of the things besides practice that come with going to the Olympics, I wouldn’t. I have fun getting involved!
• You shoot an outdoor event, the Women’s Three Position 50 Meter Rifle and the weather could well come into play. I’ve seen one UK Meteorologist say it’s going to rain every day until September. Are you doing anything differently in anticipation of the weather?
Amanda: Not knowing how the weather is going to be in London, we have been traveling all over the world searching for extreme conditions to shoot in. We trained in Germany a few weeks ago and Michigan as well. We have been looking for wind and rain and anything that might show up in London. I am absolutely confident in my ability to shoot in any condition. I actually love shooting in the rain, so this might work out well!
• Talk for a moment about how OSU has changed you as a shooter. What kind of influence has Varsity Rifle Coach Pat Cherry been, how has NCAA competition and the OSU Team affected you as an Olympian?
Amanda: OSU is a great place to be a student athlete. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Coach Cherry has been behind me 100% in my journey to the Olympics. Him (sic) and the rest of the Ohio State athletic department made sure I had anything I needed to succeed. I have been so fortunate.
Competing in the NCAA really helped me to get used to competing on a regular basis. I always competed a lot, but in college, we shoot almost every weekend. It helped me to gain confidence in shooting matches.
• I’ve heard you downplay your air rifle event as your “other event”. Are you putting less emphasis on it as far as your effort goes? That is to say, are you putting more mental time into 50m 3p?
Amanda: I definitely do not put less effort into my air rifle training. I have, however, been training logically. Air rifle try-outs for the Olympics started last fall, and I had to miss the second half of try-outs. This year I did focus my energy on 50m 3p because I knew that was my only shot at the Olympics. It was a smart move on my part. Air rifle has a great influence on my 3 position though. It really helps my standing and is a fantastic training tool. After the Olympics I will focus equally on both events. I plan to develop my air rifle skills to the level I compete in 3 position.
• There’s a big day approaching, with the opening ceremonies and there will seem to be press people hiding under the kitchen table. Do you plan to take part in all the festivities and be out there waving the flag and all that entails or do you need to scale it back a bit to keep your focus?
Amanda: I will without a doubt be taking part in the festivities! I can’t wait for opening ceremonies! I will be flying to Copenhagen after opening ceremonies for a few days of training. When I get back to London I will be in my pre-event training so will be focused solely on my match. I compete on the 4th so will have plenty of time afterwards to enjoy the rest of the Olympics!
• You have to know that you have been elevated to the level of inspiration and role model to other young women in the shooting sports across the country. (My daughters are too young to be shooters, but they think you’re a princess with a gun; right next to Cinderella, and Ariel the mermaid.) Yet you seem to be a very down to earth, regular (your words) “Girly-girl”. What’s that like to find yourself on a pedestal?
Amanda: I’m not any different than I was before, and I never will be! As for your daughters…that may be the greatest thing I’ve heard in a while! I always dreamed of being a princess, so a princess with guns is really the ultimate for me. I’ve always tried to be a good role model for women and young girls. I love getting people involved in the sport and showing people that there’s no certain person that it takes to become great. For me, the best part of shooting is the people I meet and the experiences I have with those people. No matter what accomplishments I’ve had in my life, I have always stayed the same. I stay true to my personality, and I have been pinned as a girly-girl with guns, but I love it. It’s who I am and it’s different! If I can inspire girls to be themselves and embrace who they are and strive to excel in something, then I’ve done my job right.
• You’ve made mention in a few places to your faith as a part of your life as a competitor. When you’re on the firing line, how do you bring that part of your life and meld it with your intensity as a competitor?
Amanda: I am a very faithful girl. It has become a huge part of my life especially in the last year. I spend a lot of time reading through the bible and finding answers to a lot of my questions. A lot of my confidence comes from reading the bible. I found a favorite part of the bible that I read every night before I go to bed. Phillipians 4:4-13 which talks about not being anxious and let God know what your requests are. I make sure to pray thanking God for everything He has brought into my life, and then let Him know what I think I want – like making the Olympic Team. That section ends in, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” I think about that last part a lot. Throughout my match I say little prayers asking God to be with me and to be my strength. It helps relieve some of my nerves and reminds me that God has a plan for me. So instead I shoot for myself and do the best I can. Prayer is a big part of my life and a part of my match plan. It’s what works for me. It’s who I am.
• WHEN you’re up on the medal stand and they begin to play our national anthem, what thoughts do you think will be going through your mind?
Amanda: That would be an emotional experience for me. It’s something I’ve dreamed of my entire life. I would think about my dad and mom and all the hard work we did together to get there. I would think about all the people that supported me and wouldn’t give a single thought to all the people that didn’t. It’s something not many Americans get to do and I would feel so proud to be up there.
• What are your plans after the Olympics? Are you returning to Ohio State? Will there (hopefully) be another Olympics for you?
Amanda: I still have one more year of school after the Olympics! I will be back at Ohio State as a senior. I will definitely keep shooting, it’s a sport for life. We will see where my life goes in the next four years, but I would love to represent the U.S. in the Olympics at least one more time. I’m so young, there might be a few more in me.