GINNY Thrasher, 19, has ushered in the gold for Team USA in an upset that saw two Chinese competitors take silver and bronze in the women’s 10-meter air rifle event.
The teenager from Springfield, Virginia, defeated Du Li and Yi Siling with a total score of 208.0, setting an Olympic record in the finals.
Thrasher, who wanted to become an Olympic figure skater when she was a kid, fired her first gun just five years ago during a hunting excursion with her grandfather, Dailymail said.
Thrasher emerged from the pack of 50 women in the qualifying round with seven other competitors in the finals.
Athletes stand 10 meters from the target and attempt to hit the bullseye for a maximum score of 10.9, which Thrasher received early on qualifying round.
The teen faced tough competition, but came out a full point ahead of 34-year-old veteran Li, who won gold in the event in 2004.
Bronze medalist Yi was the defending gold champion from 2012.
Thrasher’s coach, Jon Hammond, acknowledged the teen’s steely resolve, saying: “When it comes to anything that’s a challenge — a test, a competition, training — it’s very easy for her to dial in that concentration,” NBC reported.
The engineering major at West Virginia University said: “What’s most attractive of rifle is the mental side of the sport.
“Anyone can go and hit a 10, it’s not that hard. To go and shoot 10 after 10 after 10 in a big event is very hard.
“You have to have a mastery of the mental side, controlling your emotions, following your process and not thinking about the outcome,” Thrasher said.