This article appeared on Sports Illustrated.com on Aug. 11, 2008 and was written by Mallory Rubin
Every day during the Olympics, SIOC will feature an Olympian who's also a college student. Today, we've got a Q&A with West Point sophomore and 10m air rifle shooter Stephen Scherer, who chats about his love of all-things shooting, West Point hazing and his stir-fry-eating plans.
This interview was conducted before Olympic competition began. Stephen finished 27th today in the men's 10m air rifle qualifying round.
Name: Stephen Scherer
School: West Point
Year: Rising sophomore
Major: Chemical engineering
Olympic Event: Shooting (men's 10m Air Rifle)
Hometown: Billericka, Ma.
What is the best part of being in the Olympics?
The best part is going to be being able to meet everyone from the U.S. Olympic team and from other countries. That's what I look forward to most about being there.
How'd you get your start in your sport?
Our family got interested in shooting by a friend. By our house there's a local gun club and we saw the sign for it and joined the local program for rifle shooting and ever since then we've been shooting.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself in the Army. There's a five-year obligation after West Point, so I'll probably still be fulfilling that.
If you could take part in any Olympic sport besides your own, what would it be?
That's a hard one. Let's see. I would say basketball.
What's the best Olympic freebie you've gotten so far?
Probably this rifle case they gave us for our rifles. It's sort of a national team freebie, but I got it after making the team. It's a nice case. It's top of the line and protects your gun well. It's big and black (laughs).
What's your favorite kind of Chinese food, and how much of it are you planning on eating while you're in Beijing?
I love a lot of Chinese food. But I would have to say stir-fry or vegetable stir-fry. I don't know how much of that is going to be avialble to us, but I'm going to try to eat as much Chinese food as I can.
Is there anything you're hoping to see/do in China?
Well I'm definitely going to try to hang out with my family as much as I can. I've been to China before for the World Cup so I've seen a little bit of it, but I haven't seen the Forbidden City yet so I want to see that. I just want to hang out with my family and see as much as we can.
What's your proudest accomplishment in your sport thus far, besides making it to Beijing?
Probably getting rookie of the year, that was probably my favorite.
How is an Olympic athlete treated on campus?
Well, hopefully now, well. When I made the team I was still a freshman, so I was still getting hazed. Not really any special treatment. Hopefully now it'll be better. I haven't been out of the hazing stage yet at West Point, so I'll look forward to that.
Better uniform: West Point or Team USA?
Definitely Team USA's. It's representing the country and a lot of things at West Point are good, but the whole rigidness of it sort of makes you hate the uniforms since you have to wear it everyday, so I'm not really a fan of that.
What are three movies, TV shows or bands you can't live without?
Probably Braveheart, Jimmi Hendrix, and, I don't really watch many shows, but if I had to choose one, I'd have to say Who's Line is it Anyway.
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
I'd have to say Michael Jordan.
Do you have any hobbies besides your sport?
I love shooting, shooting is a lot more than my sport. I love pistol shooting and shotgun shooting too. Outside shooting, I'd say basketball, playing pool, hiking.
If you win a medal, what will you do with it?
Keep it safe. I'll probably keep it back home where it'll be nice and safe and where people can't steal it.