Ginny Thrasher (USA), just 19 years of age, wins the first gold medal of the Rio games by edging out Chinese veterans Du Li and Yi Siling in Women’s 10m air rifle.
Thrasher finished with a final score of 208, a full point ahead of Li. Yi Siling bowed out in third place at 185.4. This is the first time an American has medaled in the 10m air rifle event since Nancy Johnson won gold in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Thrasher said, "This is beyond my wildest dreams. I knew it was a realistic expectation for me to get into the finals and once you get into the finals, anything can happen. For me, this year has been incredible."
The West Virginia native burst onto the competitive shooting scene in 2015 when she took home five medals at the USA Shooting National Championships.
As a freshman at West Virginia University, Thrasher led the Mountaineers to their 18th NCAA team rifle championship, and also won individual titles in smallbore and air rifle.
Thrasher only got her start in shooting five years ago when she asked to join her father and brother on a hunting trip.
“They didn’t think I was going to pull the trigger,” Thrasher recalled. “They didn’t think I could kill a deer.”
Du Li, 2004’s gold medalist led in qualifying but could not keep pace with Thrasher, who kept her cool the whole final, only scoring under 10 on one shot.
The final standings are as follows:
1. Virginia Thrasher (USA)
2. Du Li (China)
3. Yi Siling (China)
4. Barbara Engleder (Germany)
5. Daria Vdovina (Russia)
6. Elaheh Ahmadi (Iran)
7. Snjezana Pejcic (Croatia)
8. Sarah Scherer (USA)