The first champion of Rio

Virginia (Ginny) Thrasher became the first American to win gold at the 2016 Olympics and the first gold medalist in Rio. There was not much excitement in the US press over her victory in the 10-meter air rifle contest, for reasons too obvious to be named.

But Thrasher’s achievement is remarkable. At 19, she has only been shooting for barely four years and was rated 23rd at the start of the Olympics. She made it to the finals, where her position in the rankings put her in sixth place among the eight finalists. She managed to outperform two first-rate Chinese snipers, one of whom was the defending champion and the other had won gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Both the Chinese markswomen have won World Cup competitions this year and were likely on top form.

It’s also good to know that the new champion is majoring in engineering.

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