We're raising our praise hand emojis to 19-year-old Ginny Thrasher, who just scored the United States' first gold medal of the 2016 Olympics—and it's the first gold medal of the Olympics this summer... no big deal or anything.
The rising sophomore and engineering major at West Virginia University, who placed first in the 10-meter air rifle event, won over event favorite Du Li of China. It was an unexpected upset; while Thrasher is ranked 23rd in the world (and this is no small feat!), Li is a two-time gold medalist.
What appeals most to Thrasher about the sport is the mental challenge it presents. "What's most attractive of rifle is the mental side of the sport,"she told NBC. "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."
Originally, Thrasher had wanted to be an Olympic figure skater—but learned to love the art of shooting when she went with her brothers, dad, and grandfather on a hunting trip. And while it's a sport that takes a lifetime to hone, Thrasher reached a world-class level in just five short years.
Rio marks the young shooter's first Olympics—and we're going to guess she has a long, successful future in the sport ahead of her.