19-Year-Old Woman Takes Olympic Shooting Gold

Ginny Thrasher
American shooter Ginny Thrasher took gold in the women's air rifle event in Rio on August 6. photo from voanews.comweb photo

The first American gold medal of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics is being brought home by shooter Ginny Thrasher, who pulled off a remarkable upset in the women’s 10-meter air rifle event Saturday morning.

Thrasher, 19, beat silver medalist Du Li of China in the final round with a total of 208.0, setting an Olympic record in the finals—Du finished with 207.0, according to USA Today.

Yi Siling of China won took the bronze stand as the first set of medals in Rio were awarded.

"I think I knew it was realistic for me to make finals, but I was not focused on that," Thrasher said in the story. "I was focusing on just shooting the best that I could, and that got me there."

Thrasher is an NCAA champion at West Virginia, where she will soon be a sophomore.

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

This is Thrasher's first first Olympics. She was on her high school rifle team and will also compete in the three-position event on August 11. An underdog contender, Thrasher's best finish at a World Cup was fourth in Munich this year, the story says.

The first American gold medal of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics is being brought home by shooter Ginny Thrasher, who pulled off a remarkable upset in the women’s 10-meter air rifle event Saturday morning.

Thrasher, 19, beat silver medalist Du Li of China in the final round with a total of 208.0, setting an Olympic record in the finals—Du finished with 207.0, according to USA Today.

Yi Siling of China won took the bronze stand as the first set of medals in Rio were awarded.

"I think I knew it was realistic for me to make finals, but I was not focused on that," Thrasher said in the story. "I was focusing on just shooting the best that I could, and that got me there."

Thrasher is an NCAA champion at West Virginia, where she will soon be a sophomore.

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

This is Thrasher's first first Olympics. She was on her high school rifle team and will also compete in the three-position event on August 11. An underdog contender, Thrasher's best finish at a World Cup was fourth in Munich this year, the story says.

Over on the trap range, Corey Cogdell-Unrein won the bronze medal in women's trap on Sunday. She competed against Spain's Fatima Galvez and the two finished the 15-target round tied with 13 each. In the shoot-off, Cogdell-Unrein won, claiming her second Olympic bronze, according to this story from the Chicago Tribune.

“You can’t compare an Olympic shootoff to any other,” Cogdell-Unrein said in Rio late Sunday. “The pressure is unlike anything. You want it so bad.”

Australia's Catherine Skinner won the gold, edging out New Zealand Natalie Rooney in the final, 12-11, the story says.

Cogdell-Unrein, of Eagle River, Alaska is the wife of Chicago Bears lineman Mitch Unrein, is competing in her third Olympic games. She won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She placed 11th in London four years ago.

Corey Cogdell-Unrein
Corey Cogdell-Unrein won the bronze medal in women's trap on Sunday. photo from chicagotribune.comweb photo

At Saturday night’s Bears Family Fest at Soldier Field, many of the team members wore “Team Unrein” t-shirts that also bore the Olympic flag, the story says.

The story says Unrein couldn't get away from Bears training camp to be at the games, but that they hunt together, trying to arrange waterfowl hunting trips during the bye week each season.

"I am pretty proficient," Unrein said of his trap skills in the story. "I can't even put it into words (how his wife shoots). You go out there and watch the Olympic shooters, and you're like, 'Oh, I can do that.' Then you step on the line with the shotgun in your hand, and you call for the target. It is so fast. Normal American trap goes 35 to 40 mph. When they shoot, the angles are more severe, and they go 60 to 80 mph."

Following her win, Thrasher talked about the controversy over gun control in the U.S. and how it has affected the sport of shooting, according to this story on voanews.com.

“Some of the controversy over gun laws in America is just distracting from our sport, which is very different…I just tried to focus on the competition,” she said in the story.

The story says earlier in the week, six-time Olympian Kim Rhode spoke about how new laws in California, where she lives, have affected her training.

“We had just six laws that were passed in California that will directly affect me. For example, one of the being an ammunition law. I shoot 500 to 1,000 rounds a day, having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo or when I bring ammo out for a competition or match—those are very, very challenging for me,” Rhode said from Rio, where she is also competing.