Rio Olympics: First USA gold medal won by Ginny Thrasher
The United States has claimed its first gold in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The big win came from 19-year-old shooter Virginia “Ginny” Thrasher, who conquered the women’s 10-meter air rifle event on Saturday and set an Olympic record in the finals.
Thrasher’s gold was a bit of an upset for China’s Du Li, who had been favored to win after taking home gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Li finished with 207.0, while Thrasher came in with 208.0. China’s Yi Siling took home the bronze with 185.4.
Serbia’s Andrea Arsovic – who is ranked No. 1 in the world in the sport – failed to advance to the final.
This is the first Olympics for Thrasher – a native of West Virginia. She will also compete in the three-position shooting on Aug. 11.
Thrasher says she wanted to be an Olympic figure skater when she was younger, but became enamored with shooting while joining her grandfather, father, and two older brothers on a hunting trip.
“The adrenaline rush was incredible,” she told NBC when reflecting on her first shooting experience.
Thrasher is the third woman for the United States to win gold in the women’s 10-meter air rifle – which has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1984.
She became the only freshman ever to sweep both NCAA individual air rifle titles, earning a spot in Rio in less than a month.