A 19-Year-Old American Just Won The First Gold Medal At The Rio Olympics

Team USA wasted no time in starting its tally of wins at the Rio Olympics.

On Saturday morning, Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal awarded at the summer games, winning the 10-meter air rifle competition.

According to The Guardian, Thrasher won the gold by not only besting the 2012 gold medal winner -- China's Yi Siling, who finished third on Saturday -- but she also took the top spot in the shooting competition by setting an Olympic record score of 208.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, yes, Virginia was actually born in Virginia.

According to, the 19-year-old is a Springfield native who just completed her first year at West Virginia University, where she helped the Mountaineers earn their fourth straight shooting national championship.


Like her performance in Rio, her showing at the shooting national championship made history as well. Thrasher became the first freshman to sweep the NCAA's individual shooting events: smallbore and rifle.

She told last month,

This is such an exciting time for me. The opportunity to see athletics at this high of a level really puts this experience into perspective... The Olympics are a great time for the world to come together. The fact that I get to be a bigger part of that experience, and not just watch it on TV, is exhilarating.

Safe to say, winning the gold medal in Rio with an Olympic-record score is just as exhilarating, if not more.


Citations: West Virginia's Ginny Thrasher ready to represent US, Mountaineers (NCAA), Virginia Thrasher wins first gold medal of Rio Olympics for USA in 10m air rifle (The Guardian)