The first medal of the 2016 Rio Olympics was a gold who went to an unexpected American champion, first-time Olympian Ginny Thrasher.
American shooter Ginny Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics, pulling off an 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.
Yi Siling of China took bronze as the first medals in Rio were awarded.
Thrasher wasn’t one of the favorites to win a medal coming into the Olympics.
“I think I knew it was realistic for me to make finals, but I was not focused on that,” she said. “I was focusing on just shooting the best that I could, and that got me there.”
Thrasher, a sophomore at West Virginia, was a dark horse competing against an experienced and talented field of shooters, and was thought to be out of medal contention, even though she is an NCAA champion.
Thrasher’s final round score of 208 set an Olympic record, edging out the 2004 Olympic gold medalist from China, Du Li.
China’s Yi Siling took the bronze.
American shooter Sarah Scherer finished eighth.