Describing Katerina “Katy” Emmons as “patient and precise” would be right on target. To say that Katy is usually right on target herself is an entirely accurate description of this three-time medalist at the Games who was raised in Plzen and represented the Czech Republic. She won a bronze medal in 2004, then a silver and a gold medal in 2008 in the 10meter Air Rifle event where the bull’s-eye is .5 millimeters in diameter, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
She was known as a fierce competitor who summoned grit and toughness as the pressure of the biggest matches increased. But after retiring from competition in 2013, she refocused those skills on her other champion endeavors: being a mother and wife. She’s married to Matt Emmons, one of the world’s top marksmen also with three Games medals to his credit, and they have three children: Julia, 7, Martin, 4, and Emma, 8 months.
Their marriage was a match made in heaven, but borne out of adversity. Katy and Matt met at the 2004 Games as a result of an error that took Matt out of medal contention on his final shot in the 3 X 40 Smallbore Rifle event. Katy offered him some words of consolation. In the ensuing years they also clung together through Matt’s bout with thyroid cancer and the challenging ups-and-downs of life on the elite competition circuit.
Katy manages the weighty task of managing the home front while Matt prepares for the Games in Rio, his fourth trip representing the USA team. Katy answered some questions to help clarify how this Shaklee Pure Performance Team member manages her roles as mother, wife, and champion:
Q: Describe the influences that helped you become a champion markswoman and how your shooting success helped you in your role as a mother.
A: Influences were definitely my family—Dad and both of his parents were ‘feeding’ me all the knowledge I needed to become a great athlete. Growing up around them made the fundamentals automatic, which established a great base. Shooting has formed my patience, endurance, and focus. Raising kids is the hardest thing I’ve done; it is a huge responsibility, and patience is the main key.
Q: What was most satisfying about being a champion shooter?
A: There were times I had to overcome something difficult, figured it out, and achieved the [awards] podium. And then also doing it again and again. I love challenges and I love conquering them.
Q: Describe your transition from being a competitive shooter to being a mother.
A: I was born to be a mom—Matt could tell you that! To me sport was fun, a great experience, my passion. But, the thing I have always wanted was to become a mom and build a loving home for my family. I will never regret my decision to retire; I had fun, won a lot, and set world records—now I want to support our kids as they form their lives.
Q: You have retired from competitive shooting, but Matt is still going strong in his competitive career. How do you two work together so that you both can succeed at home and on the shooting range?
A: It is a learning process and the path isn’t easy. Kids have their needs, and Matt has different requirements so that he can be the best. But again, with a lot of patience and tolerance we are managing it pretty well. Matt needs to get his training and rest, but he makes sure he takes time for his kids. He reads stories before bed, makes Sunday breakfast when home, and does outside yard work with them. And I do my best to make sure the home is taken care of so he can focus as much as possible. Matt has also developed a lot of patience, but being a great athlete doesn’t mean you’re a great parent. That is a whole different role we had to learn. And we are learning more about parenting as we go.
Q: What advice can you offer mothers who are juggling several difficult tasks, such as raising children, working at a job, nurturing a relationship, trying to stay healthy, and participating in enriching activities?
A: When handling a lot of tasks, make sure you make things as simple as possible. Always make time to relax, rest, recharge. When things become very hard, I play some music and sing out loud. It helps me relax and we all end up singing together with the kids.
Q: What things in life are important to the Emmons family? What activities do you like to do as a family?
A: We love spending time together and do things outside. As kids get older it gets easier to do the things we like—hiking, biking, camping. Staying healthy is the main thing; there is nothing fun about being sick. Of course, with little kids it’s impossible not to get sick, but we try to eliminate it as much as we can. We are also a very eco-friendly family, so Shaklee fits in our lives perfectly with lots of great supplements and great household products. We use the Shaklee Life-Strip and Vitalized Immunity™ tablets mainly during late fall and through the winter. Our main key is a nutritious and balanced diet.
Q: What are some of the most satisfying parts of being a wife and mother?
A: Loving and being loved; simple as that.
A special thank you to Katy Emmons, Gold and Silver Medal winner in the 2008 Summer Games, Bronze Medal winner in the 2004 Summer Games, and Member of the Shaklee Pure Performance Team. Katy’s favorite Shaklee product is Life Energizing Shake.