Gabriela Franco grew up in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. As a child she was very active, and participated in different sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and running. One day her father took her to the shooting range when she was 11 years old. Since that day, she knew she wanted to know more about the sport.
At the age of 16, Gabby became part of the Venezuelan Olympic Team, and won her first International Silver Medal at the Bolivarian Games in Peru (1997). Since then Gabby became one of favorite pistol shooter of the Team, competing in 14 different countries in 5 years and earning at least a dozen of International titles. She became Venezuelan National Champion for several years, and placed 37th in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Gabby moved to the United States in 2002 shortly after her last match in Brazil (the South American Games) where she won 3 gold medals. On the fourth season of History channel’s “Top Shot”, Gabby was the first woman to advance to the individual competition.
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Currently Gabby is a firearms instructor in the Miami area. She is an active competitor in the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA). Her website is www.gabbyfranco.com.
How did sports, including shooting, help your high energy level when you were a child?
I was always a very active, and a not-so-quiet child (I would say I was a little bit of a rebel), so my parents always made me try different activities and sports from swimming up to modeling, until one day shooting came to my life and I think it was the perfect balance for a hyperactive girl with a lack of attention. Sports have been the best thing that has happened in my life – not only because is good for your health, but most importantly as a teen it kept me away of bad habits and gave me a sense of responsibility.
How do you mentally prepare for a competition?
The first thing I do is think positively. I always review what I need to do in my mind, perfectly – over and over again.
How did you prepare for Top Shot competitions, not knowing what weapons you would be using?
I always had an open mind and repeated to myself that no matter what I would have in front of me that day, I will try to do my best. Positive and effective thinking made me overcome any possibility to have a negative thought.
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