Former WVU shooter Thrasher shifts focus to 2021 Olympics
Former WVU shooter Ginny Thrasher was part of history in 2016, winning the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics in the 10 meter air rifle.
Add that to the two NCAA championships she had won as a WVU freshman in both the air rifle & small bore events.
"I thought when I came back [from Rio] that everything would go back to normal and I would just be another student at West Virginia," she said. "That's not what happened at all. It was amazing. The community and the people, even if they didn't know anything about shooting, they wanted to be a part of it."
Thrasher graduated from WVU in 2019 as a 12-time All-American on the rifle team. She had since moved to Team USA's training center in Colorado Springs as a full-time professional athlete preparing for the 2020 Olympics.
Because of COVID-19, those facilities shut down and the games were postponed to 2021. Instead, she made a make-shift shooting range on the east coast where she trains every day.
"Even being able to train is something I'm honestly so grateful for because most people don't have that opportunity," she said. "Athletes around the world in every sport are struggling right now."
The Olympic trials for Team USA rifle are two parts. After the first part concluded in October, Thrasher sat in first place. Now she will have to wait until this upcoming October for part two in hopes of being selected to travel to Tokyo for another shot at gold.
"I'm going to be more ready than ever and more ready than anyone else and use this extra time to really work and really get better."
The Virginia native picked up rifle when she entered high school after years of trying out many different sports from swimming to baseball to even basketball.
"I'm only 5'1 so basketball didn't go very well at all," she joked.
"When I was in sixth grade I found figure skating and I loved figure skating, but I never loved the sacrifices that I would have had to make to be a great athlete...When I started high school is when I found shooting. To me what I needed to do to be amazing at shooting wasn't a sacrifice."
Now, the sport she fell in love with has turned into her full time job. Ginny plans to remain a pro shooter for at least five years. After that, she will have her biomedical engineering degree for WVU to start her next chapter.