BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
With a perfectly placed bulls-eye, West Virginia University rising sophomore Ginny Thrasher thrust her name to the forefront of American sports (if only for a moment) when she captured the nation’s first Olympic Gold Medal of the Rio De Janeiro games in 10-meter air rifle, beating out tough competition from the team from China.
The 19-year-old Thrasher took down Silver Medalist Du Li and Bronze Medalist Yi Siling to complete the underdog run to the top of the world stage. Yi won gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
Thrasher, a champion at the NCAA level as well, has ties to O’Fallon, as she spent part of her childhood living in town. She has since moved to Springfield, Virginia, after completing her eighth grade year at Edward Fulton Junior High School. She now goes to school in Morgantown, West Virginia.
She picked up shooting four years ago when hunting with her family. Thrasher took down a whitetail deer and was instantly hooked on the sport. Her rise to the top of the shooting world since then has been rapid and at times unexpected. Neither of the major media predictions picked Thrasher to even medal in the tremendously deep field, which included Yi and current World Number One Andrea Arsovic of Serbia.
Thrasher took the first American medal in the Games of the 31st Olympiad and said she is tremendously proud to bring the shooting gold to American soil, especially considering she never thought in her wildest dreams that she’d make the Olympic final, let alone win the whole competition.
The newly crowned Olympic Champion joins the likes of Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky as one of five Olympic Golds won by the United States so far, which helps make up the 19 total medals, which leads the field.
“Ginny was always the nicest person I knew in junior high,” Michael Scott, a classmate of Thrasher’s at Fulton, told the Weekly. “She was friends with everyone and really is a great person. She definitely deserved to win and we’re all incredibly happy for and proud of her.”