When the games come to a close, 302 gold medals will have been awarded at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Katerina Emmons, a shooter from the Czech Republic, won the very first one.
Emmons was indeed the first athlete in Beijing to hear her national anthem played on the medal stand, amidst the awe and exuberation of being crowned an Olympic champion—a feeling made even more special by the person with whom she was able to share it.
Sometimes the toll of becoming an Olympian—the thousands of hours of training and travel and overall turbulence—can take its toll on a relationship. But not this couple. Not when both members are Olympic champions.
Matthew Emmons first tasted Olympic glory in Athens in 2004, winning gold in the men's small-bore prone rifle (50 meters) event. In fact, he almost became a double gold medalist before inexplicably shooting at the wrong target in the finals of a subsequent event, dropping him from first place into last.
"People know me for a lot of things besides the cross-fire," he said. "Whether they know me for that or whatever, I don't care."
It was an unimaginable mistake and a signature moment of the Athens Olympics, for all the wrong reasons. That is, until he was approached later that night by a female shooter who wished to offer her condolences. Her name, at the time, was Katerina Kurkova.
The two saw each other again weeks later at the shooting World Cup Final in Bangkok, and their chemistry was compelling. But both were in other relationships at the time, not to mention, living on the other side of the world from each other. But after a year of keeping their feelings bottled up, both Matt and Katy finally took a leap of faith and began dating.
He eventually proposed to her on Valentine's Day, and the two were married last year. And both agree that being Olympic athletes is not a detriment to their marriage—if anything, they say, it enhances it.