A popular meme that has recently been circulating on social media features a picture of Olympian shooter Kim Rhode with her medals and the misspelled caption: "Won 6 metals but shunned by media... because she loves guns and Trump!"
Snopes.com, a fact-checking website, notes that this meme showed up with this text rumor on Facebook after Rhode won a bronze medal in women's skeet shooting on Aug. 12:
American Kim Rhode just became the 1st person in this year's Summer Olympics to medal in SIX consecutive Olympics and the first woman EVER to do so in the history of Olympics! You'd think the media would be all over this, right? Not so much.
You see, she won those medals with a gun, doesn't wear a hijab and is an outspoken supporter of the 2nd Amendment so she doesn't fit Hillary's agenda. She is being shunned by the media! Please like and share to give Kim credit she deserves for representing America so well!
Rhode has won a medal in six consecutive Summer Olympic Games, which is a record for women.
However, the conspiracy assertion that Rhode was ignored by the media simply isn't true according to Snopes.com, which notes coverage on CBS, NBC, USA TODAY, The New York Times, SB Nation, WGN (Chicago) and the Chicago Tribune.
There were also articles about Rhode's victories and her pro-gun stance in a mix of right and left-leaning media: NPR, TIME, Forbes and The Huffington Post, notes Snopes.com.
Bloomberg Markets reported that non-firearm corporate sponsors, who got a free pass by the conspiracy theorists in the meme, actually are avoiding sponsorships with Team USA shooters.
Rhode’s agent, Patrick Quinn, told the news site that he tried to get her deals with about 20 non-gun corporations, but got turned down.
"The big mystery is how someone like Kim isn’t part of the Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and the Olympics sponsor push," Quinn stated. "It would be nice to have an Olympic sponsor recognize the magnitude of her accomplishment."
Sponsors normally go with well-known Olympians who become famous because their events are covered on TV.
TV networks are naturally going to broadcast competitions that garner high ratings to cover the cost of televising the Games and pull a profit.
"The biggest challenge is limited exposure," Peter Carlisle, who heads Octagon Worldwide's Olympic Sports and Action division, added. "If the sport itself doesn’t provide a consistent platform for the athletes to become recognizable and maintain relevance, there’s limited value to a sponsor."
FiveThirtyEight released a study on Aug. 5 of the most and least popular Rio Olympic sports; shooting was near the bottom at 26.5 percent.