Shooting gold medalist Ginny Thrasher laments controversy over gun laws

RIO DE JANEIRO — American shooter Ginny Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics, then spoke of her sadness at how America’s gun control controversy has affected her sport.
(Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)

Thrasher, 19, set an Olympic record of 208.0 in the 10-meter air rifle event, clinching victory in a significant upset. China’s Du Li and Yu Siling won silver and bronze respectively.

“Some of the (controversy surrounding) gun laws in America is just distracting from our sport, which is very different,” Thrasher said.

The sport of shooting has become caught up in discussions over gun rights and the associated political debate. Thrasher’s teammate, six-time Olympian Kim Rhode, spoke earlier this week about how new gun measures in her state of California had affected her training because she must complete extensive background checks to buy ammunition for practice. Rhode is an outspoken member of the National Rifle Association and previously spoke on the matter at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

However, members of the United States national team have become frustrated at how the topic has seemingly part of any discussion about the sport.

“I just tried to focus on the competition,” Thrasher said.

Thrasher will be back at the West Virginia University next week, where she is starting her sophomore year majoring in biomedical engineering.

Her interest in competitive shooting was piqued by a hunting trip as a youngster.

“When I was in eighth grade my grandfather took me hunting,” she said. “I went and got my first deer and I liked the adrenaline.”

Thrasher’s triumph came before midday local time on Day 1 of the Games, putting the USA into an immediate lead in the gold medal count with the unexpected triumph.

“This is very special for me,” Thrasher added. “For me to start Rio 2016 with a gold medal for the USA makes me incredibly proud. I started to realize it was a real possibility about half way through but I pushed that quickly out of my mind.”

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/rio-2016/2016/08/06/shooting-gold-medalist-ginny-thrasher-laments-controversy-gun-laws/88333030/

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