Rio 2016 logo – Team USA clinch gold at air rifle event

The Olympic Games in Rio kicked off in style this weekend, and we already have the first gold medal of the event, with gold going to the USA in the 10 metre air rifle event.

The privilege goes to teenager Virginia Thrasher, who held her nerve and managed to edge out Du Li of China to clinch the gold, achieving an Olympic record score of 208 in doing so.

The result came as a surprise to many, as 2004 Summer Olympic gold medallist Du Li had been dominant in qualifying. 19-year-old Thrasher is ranked 23 in the world, and only took up shooting in 2011 after going hunting with her grandfather. She has previously wanted to be a figure skater!

The American shot 10.5 on the first shot of her elimination round, followed by a 10.4 on her second shot to put her comfortably ahead of her rivals.

Thrasher finished with a cumulative score of 208.0 to beat Du by a single point, giving the first gold of the games to Team USA.

The bronze medal was claimed by Yi Siling of China, who was the Olympic champion in this event four years ago in London.

Thrasher herself couldn’t believe the result, and said she entered qualifying for the Games with the view of doing her best. Speaking of her victory, she said: "To me, it was just another match to try and do my best. I wasn't really worried about the result. This is beyond my wildest dreams."

Why not take a look at our range of air guns, and who knows, you could be following in Thrasher’s footsteps in the coming years!