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Woman in shooting range, looking back over her shoulder, smiling

McKenna Dahl

Shooting
1

McKenna Dahl is one of an exciting new crop of shooters to come out of the USA in recent years.

She became the first US woman to win a medal in the sport at a Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Her bronze in R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) propelled her into the media spotlight and represented her best performance.

Maintaining her form has been challenging. At the 2018 World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea; Dahl did not make it to the finals of her three rifle events, nor at the following World Cup in Chateauroux, France.

But the young rifle athlete should not be counted out for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

In 2014, as a teenager, Dahl made a significant step toward achieving her dream of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, securing a quota place for the USA at the World Championships in Suhl, Germany.

Her performance was no doubt helped by a move that same year to the US Olympic and Paralympic training centre in Colorado Springs, where the country’s brightest Para athletes gather to live and train.

Then in 2015 Dahl competed at three World Cups, with her best finish coming from a 13th place in R5 on home soil in Fort Benning.

A rifle specialist, Dahl focuses her efforts on R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2) and R5.

That focus paid off at Rio 2016 when Dahl won a historic bronze in R5.

At the age of 12, Dahl tried shooting for the first time at a summer camp. Originally a wheelchair basketball player, she preferred shooting because it was an individual sport.

While living in Colorado Springs, Dahl takes online courses in business and technology management and a specialisation in criminal justice at DeVry university with a vision of becoming a lawyer.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
SH2, SH1

Further personal information

Family
Husband Daniel Geer
Other names
McKenna Dahl
Residence
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Customer Service
Languages
English
Higher education
Business - DeVry University: Downers Grove, IL, USA

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up shooting at age 12 in Washington state, United States of America.
Why this sport?
She was introduced to the sport while at a summer sports camp. She originally played wheelchair basketball, but was drawn to shooting because she preferred the individual nature of the sport.
Training Regime
She trains at the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Handedness
Right

General interest

Hobbies
Photography, reading, spending time outside. (ssusa.org, 08 May 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (ssusa.org, 08 May 2019)
Most influential person in career
Coach Dan Steffan, her parents and her grandfather. (Shooting Para Sport Twitter profile, 17 Sep 2020; usashooting.org, 2014; teamusa.org, 08 Oct 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Keep chipping away at the goals and dreams you have set for yourself. Maybe your dream is to be an Olympic or Paralympic champion. Maybe your dream is to eat better, exercise more, or start that new hobby you've been thinking about. Or maybe your goal is to learn how to prioritise moments of quiet in an otherwise hectic life. Whatever your dreams are, they are worth it." (Instagram profile, 22 Oct 2020)
Milestones
In 2019 she became the first athlete to win a gold medal in Para shooting at a Parapan American Games, when the sport debuted at the event in Lima, Peru that year, after she triumphed in the SH2 mixed 10m air rifle standing discipline. (SportsDeskOnline, 23 Mar 2021; Shooting Para Sport Twitter profile, 17 Sep 2020; usashooting.org, 01 Sep 2019; lima2019.pe, 24 Aug 2019)

In 2016 she became the first female representing the United States of America to win a medal in shooting at a Paralympic Games, when she took bronze in the SH2 mixed 10m air rifle prone in Rio de Janeiro. (Twitter profile, 17 Sep 2020; teamusa.org, 13 Sep 2016; SportsDeskOnline, 07 Dec 2018)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Shooting Para Sport Twitter profile, 17 Sep 2020; paralympic.org, 17 May 2017)
Impairment
She was born with amyoplasia in her left hand and both of her feet, causing her muscles not to form properly. (Shooting Para Sport Twitter profile, 17 Sep 2020; dafo.com, 09 Jun 2014)
Other information
NEW EVENT
In 2018 she began competing in the SH2 mixed 50m rifle prone, after it was announced that the event would be added to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. "I would like to see myself be more competitive in it and understand more the logistics behind small bore because it's a lot more involved than air gun." (paralympic.org, 04 Apr 2018)

OCCUPATION
She works in the guest experience team at the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In the run-up to the opening of the museum in July 2020, she gave guided tours of the museum to reporters, prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony. She was also one of a group of Para athletes that was consulted for curation advice while the museum was being designed. In January 2021, she gave talks to members of the museum in which she shared stories about her Para sport career. (Facebook page, 25 Jan 2021; Facebook profile, 02 Nov 2020; cpr.org, 30 Jul 2020; gazette.com, 04 Aug 2020)

OTHER STUDIES
After earning a degree in business and technology management from DeVry University in the United States of America, she completed a master of business administration [MBA] from the same institution in 2020. (Facebook page, 01 Mar 2021; teamusa.org, 18 Sep 2016)

Results

Unit Date Rank
2014 IPC Shooting World Championships (Suhl, Germany)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed 10m Air Rifle standing SH2 Qualification 2014-07-21 20
Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2 Qualification 2014-07-23 45
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
R4 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Standing SH2 Qualification 2016-09-10 24
R5 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Prone SH2 Qualification 2016-09-13 3
R5 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Prone SH2 Final Round 2016-09-13 3
Cheongju 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships (Cheongju, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
R4 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle standing SH2 Qualification 2018-05-05 36
R5 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2 Qualification 2018-05-05 40
R9 - Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH2 Qualification 2018-05-05 16
Team R5 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2 Qualification 2018-05-05 6