Thursday, September 22, 2016

WVU’s Thrasher wins gold medal in rifle

By: Calista Boggess
   Virginia Thrasher, sophomore at WVU, won the gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics for the women’s 10-meter air rifle.
   Thrasher began as a figure skater but changed her sport five years ago in ninth grade when she went hunting with her grandfather; she killed a deer with her first shot.  Practicing five days a week by her senior year, she was winning medals in the 2015 USA Shooting National Championship. Thrasher also won 3rd in the 2014 Junior Olympic Championships.
   At West Virginia University, Thrasher became the second member to win both the individual small-bore and air rifle championships. After those wins, there was a spot for her at the US Olympic Trials in Fort Benning, GA.
   Thrasher told The Washington Post, “I didn’t really care much about the Olympics. I knew shooting was an Olympic sport, but I never really thought, ‘Oh, I want to go to the Olympics in shooting.’ I was just shooting because I loved shooting.”
   Thrasher shot 10.5 on her first shot of the final elimination round and after getting a 10.4 on her second shot she was ahead of Li Du from China. Thrasher beat Du by one point and had a cumulative score of 208.0. Du is a two-time gold medalist, so beating her is truly an accomplishment.
   “I knew the stars were aligning and I was reaching towards something I had prepared for for a long time. The Olympics are just another steppingstone in my shooting career,” Thrasher said.
   Thrasher says she is excited to head back to school. She is majoring in biomedical-engineering is graduating in about three years.

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