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Olympic Rifle Shooter Talks Faith

A member of the USA Shooting Team, Olympic athlete Amanda Furrer discusses her faith and her award-winning career in competitions. Read Transcript


Amanda Furrer was not your typical 10-year-old.

She didn't dream of becoming a ballerina, a teacher, or even

a doctor.

Amanda wanted to be something totally different.

NARRATOR: When Amanda Furrer was 10 years old,

she dreamed of becoming an Olympic shooter.

Soon, she started training.

By 16, she was competing with the USA

national Olympic shooting team.

When she was 21, Amanda finally lived out her dream

when she shot with the U.S. team in the 2012 Olympic games.

Today, Amanda has a new focus for her shooting skills--

raising money for veterans and their families.

And please welcome to the 700 Club Amanda

Furrer and her big gun.

Hi, Amanda.

Hi.

Wow, look at this bad boy.

Yeah, it's good to see you.

It's good to see you.

Thank you so much.

It's got its own little stand there.

Yeah, it's not often that I walk around holding

my rifle in high heels.

Well, Amanda, most little girls don't

dream about becoming a competitive shooter,

but you did.

Why?

Yeah, actually it's all because of my dad, basically.

He got my sister started competing when

she was about 12 years old.

And I was just 10, and I wanted to do everything that she did.

Of course.

Yeah, I was that annoying little sister.

I was too young to join the junior rifle

team that she was part of, so I just begged my dad

to teach me in the garage.

And he got me started shooting there,

and I started competing when I was 11.

And you guys grew up in Seattle?

Spokane, Washington.

Right.

Now, were you good at it when you first began?

Were you a natural?

Actually, no.

I was pretty bad when I first started.

When I told you my dad taught me in the garage,

we actually-- we had a shop that was set up

just about 10 meters away, which is the distance

for air rifle competing.

So he had me shooting in one garage

to this big refrigerator box that

was set up in the other garage.

And I was so bad when I first started, that I completely

missed the refrigerator sized box.

I made dents all over the door.

So you just shot at the whole garage,

and your dad didn't care.

Yeah, he didn't fix it either.

So he really likes to show it off now

when people come up to the house.

He's like, this is where she first started.

Apparently you got better, because you made it

to the Olympics.

Now Amanda, what kind of training does it take,

and what kind of commitment does it

take to make it to the Olympic shooting team?

Well to get from where I was then to where I am now

and where I competed in the Olympics,

it took a lot of work.

You know, it took a lot of work physically,

as far as actually shooting and competing,

but it's a psychological sport as well.

So I would say primarily psychological,

once you get your shooting positions down.

So it really took a lot of work in and out of the range

and spiritually to get where I was ready to compete

in the Olympics.

Your dream finally came true, four years ago,

when you were 21, you actually went to the 2012 Olympics

and competed.

What was that like?

See that's a difficult question,

because there was so much that happened around that time,

you know.

It was a bit overwhelming.

I was very young going to the Olympics.

And it was just one of those experiences

where I really got to take everything in.

And I'd been to London three times before that, so--

Are you talking about when you were 16, or when you were 21?

When I was 21.

When you were 21.

Yeah.

I had been to London three times before that

for various competitions.

So I got to do all the touristy stuff before.

So then when I actually went to the Olympics, it was--

I just got to take in the actual Olympic events,

and the venues--

How did you do when you were there?

I placed 15th.

So I was actually tied for 12th.

There was a few of us that were tied.

But our sport is kind of-- it's a game of millimeters

and decimal points.

And you know-- so you could have 10 people with the same score,

basically, and get separated by x count, all kinds of stuff.

So I actually shot really well.

It just wasn't enough to medal.

15th sounds pretty good to me.

Thank you.

You actually were on the rifle team

at Ohio State University, where you went.

That's where you went to college, right?

Yeah.

Yeah, I was recruited by their rifle team

and I competed for them for four years.

And West Virginia University, where I went,

is right next door.

And you say they have one of the best rifle

teams in the country.

They do.

They do.

I hate to admit it.

We competed against them a lot.

So it actually-- it was a ton of fun

getting to travel with my other teammates at Ohio State,

and competing against my friends that went to other schools.

What part did your Christian faith

play in helping you to succeed and become

the shooter that you are?

I would say that my faith is the reason why

I mean the 2012 Olympic team.

2008 was when I actually first tried out for an Olympic team.

And at that point in my life, it seemed

as if shooting was the only thing that I was living for.

It was-- I was fully dedicated to it,

and I had been for years.

And so it more or less defined who I was as a person.

And when I didn't make that team--

I was alternate on the team, but I didn't actually

get to compete-- that left me with a feeling of failure,

and that I wasn't good enough, and kind of put me

in the depressed position.

But between then and 2012 Olympics,

a lot changed in my life.

And I really-- my faith really grew.

I need to ask you this real quick

before we go to this video that we're going to show

of you teaching me to shoot.

But you've actually retired in the last couple of months

at the ripe old age of 25.

But you're using your gifts and talents now

to help veterans and their families.

How are you doing that?

Oh, I just-- because the platform I've

built from being an Olympian, I have

become an ambassador for three different veteran

organizations.

So I like to go to those places and meet the veterans,

and help out with the organizations,

and take part in the charity events and all that.

So I really enjoy it.

Well that's amazing.

Well, yesterday, Amanda and I hit the shooting range, where

she showed me how to fire.

Take a look.

OK, I'm here with Amanda and a very big gun.

So what is this?

AMANDA FURRER: This is an on-shoots 22 precision rifle.

This is what you shoot target shooting, ROTC programs,

collegiate level shooting, and Olympic style shooting.

WENDY GRIFFITH: This is what you shot at the Olympics?

AMANDA FURRER: It is, yeah.

It is actually the first rifle that my dad ever got for me.

Well I'm ready.

Let's do it.

AMANDA FURRER: So the way that you

want to approach this-- just remember the safety things.

You don't put your finger on the trigger

until you're ready to shoot.

Just always assume that it's loaded.

But what we'll do first, is we'll

get this-- the back piece of the rifle snug into your shoulder.

Then your cheek rests on the cheek piece,

and your finger above the trigger, where it's at.

Is my cheek where it should be?

AMANDA FURRER: Yeah, as long as you can see the rear sight,

aligned with the front sight, aligned with the target.

They should be concentric circles all the way down.

OK, I've got lined up.

I'm going to go ahead and close the bolt,

so you can see what the trigger feels

like without any ammunition.

OK, when you have the sights lined,

go ahead and give it a try.

So it's a really light trigger.

And there's a starting point.

And then once you take the shot, you

feel a little bit of a crack.

And when there's actually a bullet in there,

you'll feel a little bit of kick back,

but it's pretty much nothing at all.

WENDY GRIFFITH: So this time, real bullets.

AMANDA FURRER: Yep, real bullets.

So you just put it in the nose forward.

Push it all the way.

Close the bolt. Now you're ready to shoot.

Just remember, put your shoulder in the back

of the gun, your hand up there, and good steady cheek pressure.

And then just slowly pull the trigger back

once your sights are aligned on the target.

Just steady the circle on the circle.

WENDY GRIFFITH: All right, here we go.

[GUN SHOT]

All right.

Great.

Awesome follow through, too.

When you sit on the target afterwards, that's perfect.

That's what we do.

You have to hold it a little bit, so good job.

So, you're saying basically, I'm a protege.

Oh yeah.

OK, the moment of truth.

Amanda, how did I do?

Well, looking at your target, it

looks like you did pretty good.

My competitive style shooting, you

wouldn't have dropped any points, so far.

So this is very good.

So basically, you're saying I'm a natural.

Yes, you are, actually.

You did very good.

Well you're a great teacher.

Thanks so much.

High five.

Thanks.

She is-- you are a great teacher.

Thank you.

That was so much fun.

And I love that the trigger was easy to pull.

Like a lot of guns, it's really-- it's hard.

It's competition style, so it's real light.

Well, we're so excited about what God has next for you.

And we'll have to have you back on

to talk about that, because there's a lot more to come

for Amanda Furrer.

And if you'd like to know more about Amanda's ongoing work

with veterans and their families,

just log on to cbn.com.

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