Even as a toddler, Corey Cogdell was a good shot. She started off blasting tin cans in Chickaloon and by the time she hit grade school she could hit a spruce hen at 75 yards.
As she grew up, her targets changed but her aim didn’t. Cogdell bagged her first moose at age 18 and pocketed her first Olympic medal at age 21.
Cogdell is a two-time Olympic medalist in women’s trapshooting, taking bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and again at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. At the 2012 games in London, she placed 11th.
Born in 1986, Cogdell is the consummate Alaska outdoorswoman. She hunts, fishes and knows what to do with a roll of duct tape – at least once, she has used duct tape to make blinders for her safety goggles.
She is also a drama queen, in a good way. She earned both of her Olympic medals by winning sudden-death shootoffs.
In Beijing, she won a four-person, bronze-medal shootoff. Cogdell drew No. 4, meaning she would be the last of the four to shoot. The first three missed. Cogdell took aim knowing a miss would extend the shootoff and a hit would end it. Her bullet caught the edge of the orange clay target and sent a wisp of smoke into the air. The bronze medal was hers.
In Rio de Janiero, she was in two shootoffs in one day, both with medals at stake. She lost a two-person shootoff that would have put her in the gold-medal match but bounced back to win the two-person bronze-medal shootoff. She shot first and hit her target. A minute later her opponent missed, clinching Cogdell’s bronze medal.
“To think about where I came from and how far I’ve come, it’s just hard to believe,” she said after winning her second medal. “ I still honestly feel like that small-town girl from Alaska.”
– Beth Bragg