By: Joe Warta
Two-time Olympic rifle shooter Sarah Scherer’s list of accomplishments is long, and her story is an inspiring one.
Scherer has traveled the world for her sport, competed in the 2012 Olympics, and came back from an incapacitating back injury that required two different surgeries to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics less than a year later. And not only is she an accomplished shooter, Scherer is also a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Scherer and gain a little insight into her fascinating world of competitive shooting:
GPM: What brought you into the sport of competitive rifle shooting in the first place?
Scherer: As a young athlete, I enjoyed participating in a variety of sports, including rifle shooting. What was different about the shooting sport was the mental skill and full body control that was required to improve your performance. I wasn’t mentally challenged to as such a high level in other sports. For this reason, I chose to pursue the shooting sports over other sports because it challenged me to be a better version of myself. The sport created a fun environment to learn life skills like concentration, goal setting, team skills, etc.
GPM: If you had one piece of advice to give to shooters trying to hone their craft, what would it be?
Scherer: My greatest tool was my performance journal; all athletes should use one daily. I used it to continually push myself and learn. Even at the Olympic level, you will never know everything about your positions or technique, and you can always improve.
GPM: Do you think the political climate surrounding guns has impacted your sport much, or the public perception of it?
Scherer: The political climate around guns has led to people making incorrect assumptions about athletes in the shooting sports and the sport community. The negative public perceptions are wrong if they come from a place of ignorance which only drives fear and division. I hope to continue to be an advocate for the shooting sports, as the sport has helped shape me to be the strong, knowledgeable, and hardworking woman that I am now. Looking back, without the shooting sports, I wouldn’t be able to be the skillful motivator I am in my career as a Registered Dietitian helping people be the best version of themselves.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.
GPM: What would you say is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to make it all the way to the Olympics?
Scherer: The hardest obstacle has been recognizing that your life experiences, even if they are challenging, should fuel your passion for excellence if you overcome the obstacle of self-pity. During my career, I had multiple injuries, two back surgeries, and other life experiences that almost led me to quit. Instead, I decided to learn how to recognize the growth opportunity in each challenge and become a stronger athlete and person.
GPM: Lastly, of course the pressing question: what’s your gun(s) of choice?
Scherer: In air rifle, I shot a Feinwerkbau 700 and in .22 I shot an Anschutz. Outside of my competition shooting, I carry a Walter PPS 9mm for personal protection.
Joe Warta is a Regional Director with the National Association for Gun Rights writing from Colorado. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.