Our own shooting star

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 17:01

Internet traffic in our neck of the woods is likely to spike early Saturday morning when homegrown hero Corey Cogdell goes for gold at the Olympic trap shooting competition in London.

Cogdell, who grew up in Eagle River and honed her craft at the Birchwood Shooting Park, has already done Chugiak-Eagle River plenty proud by winning a bronze medal in Beijing in ‘08. For Cogdell to return to the podium would be a remarkable feat...but she’s already a hero in our eyes.

The 25-year-old, who spends her own money training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, isn’t just a hero because of her skill with a shotgun. She said she wants to use her position as an Olympian to advocate for firearms safety and she frequently speaks in front of shooting and hunting groups to introduce young people to outdoor sports.

It’s no surprise that a strong-willed, talented and inspiring young woman grew up here in Chugiak-Eagle River. The amount of energy and effort this community puts into youth sports and activities — from Scouting to Nordic skiing to shooting — is considerable, and something we should all be proud of.

After Cogdell won the U.S. Trials in Arizona, her father, Dick, told the Star he thinks his daughter has what it takes to bring home the gold.

“If she decides she wants to do it, she can do it,” he said.

For her part, Corey said she simply wants to enjoy the Games experience. And that seems to be exactly what she’s done since arriving in London, sending out pictures of herself smiling at different locations around London.

Cogdell’s natural talent, combined with a community eager to help her grow as an athlete, doubltess helped her become the marksman she is today. After winning in Arizona, she told the Star she spent endless hours training at the family-friendly shooting park near the Birchwood Airport.

“I spent a lot of time at Birchwood,” she said.

You don’t have to look any further than your computer screen to see what can happen when a young person is given the encouragement and tools to achieve his or her goals. On Saturday at Midnight, Cogdell’s shot at gold will be streamed live on the Internet at www.nbcolympics.com. That’s when the preliminary rounds begins. The finals of the event are scheduled for 6 a.m. Alaska time.

We’ll be logging on and holding our breath in hopes that Corey can claim another medal. But whether she returns to Eagle River with more hardware around her neck or not, Corey Cogdell will forever remain a true champion of Chugiak-Eagle River.

Go Corey!

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