RIO DE JANEIRO — American shooter Virginia Thrasher has won the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics, capturing the women’s 10-meter air rifle.
The 19-year-old capped a strong year. She became the first freshman to win both individual NCAA rifle titles and helped West Virginia win the team title. She followed that by winning the U.S. Olympic trials less than a month later, earning a trip to Rio.
Once in Rio, she didn’t flinch at the spotlight — or an air horn.
Thrasher was sixth in the qualification round Saturday and shot a perfect 10.9 on her opening shot in the finals. She stayed in the top spot as her competitors fell off in the new-to-the-Olympics elimination finals, consistently hitting 10s despite a fan blowing an air horn at random times.
Thrasher had a cumulative score of 208.0 to beat Du Li of China by a point. Defending gold medalist Yi Siling of China earned the bronze.