There are many different ways an Olympic dream can start. In Maddy Bernau's case, shooting competitively was the best way to hang with her dad.
"I was fortunate that my dad got me into it when I was really young," says the Waterford native. "My sisters and I do competitive shooting and hunting on the side."
After shooting on her high school team, Bernau eventually moved to sporting clays, skeet and then bunker trap, which will be her Olympic event.
"I will be competing in bunker trap individually, to start with," Bernau explains. "Then, because we have a full team of bunker trap athletes going, we will be shooting the mixed team events, and I will be paired with Brian Bowers for that. "
Bernau will be shooting at targets flying out at 70 miles per hour or faster, which can produce dynamic visuals for spectators.
"When we shoot finals, we shoot flash targets," she says. "You'll actually see the target explode and turn inside out, it's such a neat thing to see. It's very intense when you watch people compete, especially when you watch Team USA. You are on the edge of your seat, like 'hit your target please!'"
By then, perhaps Maddy will have stopped pinching herself over the opportunity at hand.
"I still hear the word Olympian and it hasn't set with me yet."