Rio Olympics Today: The First Gold Medal Goes to ...American Shooter Virginia Thrasher

We already have a gold medalist, and it’s a 19-year-old West Virginia University sophomore, Virginia Thrasher.


With two shots to go in the women’s air rifle event, Thrasher, who is known as Ginny, led by 0.7 points. She coolly squeezed off shots of 10.5 and 10.4 to take gold. Two Chinese shooters, Du Li and favored Yi Siling won silver and bronze. Another American, Sarah Scherer was eighth.

Thrasher has only been shooting for five years, after she asked her father to take her deer hunting. She was N.C.A.A. champion as a freshman and surprisingly qualified for the U.S. team at the Olympic Trials. “For me, it has been a whirlwind of a summer,” she said. She will also compete in the 50-meter rifle, three positions, next Saturday, then head back to W.V.U.

“I get home 20 hours before the first class,” she said. “So I’ll be in physics at 8:30 a.m.”

In the afternoon shooting event, history was made when Vinh Xuan Hoang won the men’s air pistol. It was the first gold medal in any sport for Vietnam. “Making this gold medal is a life memory, never forget this,” Hoang said. “Because first time making a gold medal for Vietnam.”

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