A story book Olympic experience for the 19 year old sophomore as she won the first gold medal awarded at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Virginia Thrasher beat the two Chinese women who had won gold at the last two Olympics in the 10 meter air rifle event.
Virginia Thrasher took up shooting after a family deer hunt five years ago. The Silver and Bronze medal winners this year, have been former Olympic gold medal winners and both have won Gold and Silver at the ISSF World Championships. The Olympic shooting events are governed by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).
Ginny, a Virginia native, attends West Virginia University. WVU has a tradition of excellence in shooting competition with 16 NCAA National Championship titles. Including the team title won just a few weeks ago where Ginny swept the individual NCAA titles.
The target for this event is a mere 45.5 mm in diameter. It scores from 1 to 10 with the 10 ring really being a .5 mm dot. Yeah, I’ve got mechanical pencil leads thicker than that.
While the air rifles used are considerable more refined than a Ruger Air Hawk with crosman pellets, and the specialized jackets that help prevent spine injury help stabalize, you can still appreciate the level of skill required to consistently hit that small a target at 10 meters. This event is shot from a standing position without external support.
Oh, and did I mention yet that the rifles have metallic sights? Iron sights, no optics.
Congratulations to an American hunter turned shooting competitor.