|Born:||June 15, 1976|
Didsbury, Alberta, Canada
|Hometown:||Grand Junction, CO|
|Residence:||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Olympics:||2004, 2000, 1996|
|Event(s):||Air pistol; Sport pistol|
From nearly retired ...
In Fall of 2006, Beki Snyder had all but retired from the world of competitive shooting. A then-three-time Olympian -- her best finish was a ninth-place in sport pistol in Sydney -- Snyder's career was certainly one with plenty of highs. Though she never got over the Olympic hump -- aside from the ninth-place finish, she was never higher than 19th in the four other Olympic events she competed in -- Snyder had won gold in both the 1999 Atlanta World Cup and 2000 Sydney Olympic Test Event in addition to multiple top-10 finishes.
... to revived
Despite "retiring," Snyder never gave up the sport entirely and had even competed this past November/December. But, it wasn't until the urging of her roommate, Christina Cassidy -- a 2000 Olympian -- that she decided to make an attempt at the trials. The trials are here in our backyard (in Colorado Springs); we might as well shoot them," said Snyder of Cassidy's reasoning. So, the duo went and shot. Cassidy finished a respectable third place, but it was Snyder who blew competition away. While her three qualification scores were about average in terms of world competition (e.g. her best qualification score of 380 would have been good enough for 25th at last year's world cup event in Munich), she was the only shooter to reach the century mark in the finals, and she did it twice. Snyder finished over 16 points ahead of the second-place finisher at the trials. To put that in perspective, the second-place shooter didn't even have a 16-point lead on the event's seventh-place finisher.
Hitting a snafu
There were consequences (albeit small ones) to Snyder's startling success. One, her mutt, Maggie, will be without her owner for an extended period of time. "My poor dog," Snyder said. "I don't know how she'll get on." Two, Snyder's employed by Elk Creek Technology Partners in Colorado Springs as a daily manager, and she was certainly concerned about taking off for five months, beginning in April, to train and compete. Though she wouldn't be gone for the entire five months, it's clear her schedule wouldn't be the same and she wondered at first how her employers and co-workers would react. "They think it's cool," Snyder said of her co-workers' reactions. And, as she excitedly put it, "I'm going to keep my job!"
To be Rocky or not to be Rocky, that is the question
A lover of sleeping in, Beki is now split as to how she needs to approach these coming months toward Beijing. A portion of her is happy with the newfound success her laid-back approach has gotten her, but part of her still wants to go at it full bore. "The past three Olympics, I was training five days a week up until fall of '06," Snyder said. "I haven't trained at all (compared to then). We maybe averaged shooting twice a week. Now I'm going to have to kick it up a notch. "I'm kind of torn. I've got the mentality I'm going to do what I can do," she said of her approach for the U.S. trials. "That (kind of thinking) might be helpful. Though, I feel like I should be up everyday at five and run the ‘Rocky' 20 miles. ... I'm kind of waffling."
A lighter load to an Olympic career
Though her father shot a conventional pistol, Beki and her brother each started shooting rifle -- she started when she was 12. That was until she got to a competition at Colorado Springs and saw the pistol shooters. The scene of the junior shooters firing pistols wasn't enough to inspire her switch until she saw them walking away from competition. "I saw they don't have to haul as much as (rifle shooters)," Snyder said, and by age 14 she made the switch to the more-compact pistol.
Redefining a "thrilling experience"
Snyder made the overseas team in 1994 to compete in the Junior World Championship, but in 1995, she got her first taste of professional action by making the U.S. World Cup team. Her first event was in Hiroshima, Japan. She and her teammates left from Alaska, and had to turnaround mid-flight as their plane lost three engines. "It was exciting," she said, laughing.
Working at not having to work at something
As a veteran of three Olympics, Snyder knows what has worked and what hasn't worked. One thing she's quite adamant about. "I've worked on not having a routine," she says, noting that if one thing goes wrong with a "routine" then that throws off too much. "I like to use my 10-minute prep time that they have to give you," as the only preparation. She also chooses to shoot blindly when dry-firing, saving any aiming for the actual competition.
A second task
At May's smallbore Trials in Ft. Benning, Ga., Snyder won the sport pistol competition and will be teamed with American Libby Callahan in the event. Her sport pistol win also gave Brenda Shinn an Olympic berth in air pistol.
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