Virginia Thrasher is only 19 years old but the first to win a gold medal of the Rio Olympic Games on Saturday.
Thrasher said the achievement was beyond her wildest dreams as this was the first time she has competed at the Olympics.
Out of the 8 finalists, Thrasher came into the lead after beating Russian shooter, Daria Vdovina, who ended up finishing in fifth place.
“About halfway through when I took the lead it kind of became clear to me that I was in contention for a medal, but I quickly pushed that thought away and focused on breathing and taking one shot at a time,” Thrasher said.
Thrasher developed her love for shooting when her grandfather took her to hunt deer in the eighth grade.
“I got my first deer and I liked the adrenaline of pulling the trigger,” she said.
After joining and competing in her high school’s air rifle team, she was recruited by West Virginia University and instantly became a national champion her first year.
Thrasher was unable to avoid the question of gun control in the United States but she responded that the issue “really is just distracting from our sport, which is very different.”
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. What a great accomplishment at such an early age!