By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published May 17, 2018
People often wonder why I am still participating in the shooting sport. I will turn 70 later this year, and my performance in recent years has left something to be desired.
However, I am not ready to walk away. I am still climbing toward trying to attain what I would consider my highest peak, my personal Mt. Everest. I remain determined to get there.
A thrill of adventure is ingrained in me. I enjoy pushing myself to the limit while I try to reach new heights.
I have long been interested in studying other sports figures. I read books and watch movies about successful athletes. I like to learn what makes them tick. Unlike team sports, such as football or basketball, the shooting sport is an individualistic athletic endeavor, and I generally focus my study of athletes on those who compete in individual athletic conquests. I am especially drawn to literature and movies about the mountain climbers who have climbed Mt. Everest.
Years ago, I read the book “No Shortcuts to the Top,” by Ed Viesturs, who is the only American to have climbed the world’s 14 highest mountain peaks, all of which are more than 8,000 meters tall. Mt. Everest, of course, is the tallest point on Earth, standing 8,848 meters (29,092 feet) and residing on the border of Nepal and China.
I liken my shooting career to climbing Mt. Everest. Granted, my sport does not carry the risk of death that climbing Mt. Everest has, but both sports feature immense struggle on an individual level, both physically and mentally.
There have indeed been no shortcuts on my climb toward my Mt. Everest.
What is my Mt. Everest?
I want to see everything I worked so hard for, for so many years, come together at one time, at one Bianchi Cup. I have competed at Bianchi Cup for 20 years, and I have won the women’s division 8 times. I also have experienced humiliating failure at the Bianchi Cup. I have been on a downward slide at the Bianchi Cup since 2010, a performance so poor that some people wondered whether I might quit after that showing. I didn’t. I went back the next year. There were some who were surprised to see me.