Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Old campaigner gears up for eighth shot at glory


At 62, he's still going strong at his eighth Pan American Games. One of his secrets: using the right-hand side of the brain out on the shooting range.

Ralph Rodriguez, whose specialty is prone shooting, first appeared at the Pan American Games in 1971 in Cali, Colombia. Since then, he has only missed Winnipeg, Canada, in 1999 for work reasons. When not shooting, he works as a journalist.

And the passing years have done little to douse the energy running through his veins.

"The United States, the United States and the United States -- in that order," the Puerto Rican said in an interview when asked who his rivals on the shooting range would be this year.

Retirement, he says, hasn't crossed his mind.

"Sport is my life and I'm not going to give it up," he said. "I'm not completely satisfied with what I've achieved in shooting and I think that at my age I can still improve."

His best performance so far was third place in Mexico two decades ago. At the Central American and Caribbean Games, he has bagged a haul of 13 medals -- four gold, five silver and four bronze.

Part of his training, he says, is "to think with the right side of the brain."

"That's the side where power is concentrated," he says. "The left side is for analysis. To win, you need power."

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