Virginia >> Virginia "Ginny" Thrasher won America’s first gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio — and won fans across the globe for her shooting prowess and mental toughness.
Ginny’s interest in shooting sports started in eighth grade, when her grandfather took her on a deer hunting trip. The following year, Ginny joined West Springfield High School’s air rifle team. Shooting has been a family affair: Ginny’s mom Valerie is an assistant coach for the high school rifle team, and dad Roger manages the air rifle range at the Izaak Walton League’s Arlington-Fairfax Chapter, where numerous local high school teams practice.
Earlier this year, as a member of the West Virginia University Rifle Team, Ginny won the individual air rifle and three-position rifle titles at the NCAA 2016 Rifle Championships — the first freshman ever to do so — and was given the Top Performer Award at the championships. Now she has an Olympic gold medal to add to her trophy case as she starts her sophomore year at West Virginia.
In an interview with ABC News, Ginny said "the best part about shooting is that you get out of it what you put into it. I’ve had a great five years. I absolutely fell in love with the sport of shooting, and I love practicing, I love competing, I love everything about it."
You can read more about this "Golden Ike" in an upcoming issue of Outdoor America magazine.