Bagging the very first gold medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, USA's Virginia Thrasher on Saturday won the women's 10m air rifle with 208.0 points at the Rio Olympic Shooting Center.
Du Li and Yi Siling, both from China, took home the silver and bronze medals respectively. Du finished with one point behind Thrasher, while Yi ended the event with 185.4 points, reports Xinhua.
"It's just an intensive feeling of pride for my country and I'm so happy to be here," said Thrasher after the victory ceremony. "I was just trying to shoot the best I could for my first Olympics experience coming without any medal. The first gold medal for Rio 2016, for US at 19 years old is incredible," she added.
Quite a few Twitter users feel that the win is ironical since it comes at a time when there is a heated debate about the need for stricter gun control laws in the country.
the 1st gold medal of the Rio Olympics was won by an American teenager shooting a gun. sounds about right— SPFL Banter *** (@splbanter) August 6, 2016
USA wins first Gold Medal in Rio Olympics. Shooting competion, 19 year old V. Thrasher won women's air rifle. That's real gun control— Dragon Hunt (@DragonHunt68) August 6, 2016
Is anyone really that surprised that USA's first gold medal at the Rio Olympics involves shooting a gun?— Michael Blackman (@ParaComedian09) August 6, 2016
The first gold metal of the Rio Olympics was won by an American. Woman. From the South. With a gun. This makes me happy.— Mark Atwood (@FallenPegasus) August 6, 2016
Thrasher however told USA Today that the controversy over gun laws is "distracting". “Some of the (controversy surrounding) gun laws in America is just distracting from our sport, which is very different,” she said.
Earlier this week, Kim Rhode, another American Olympic shooter, lamented about the new gun control laws passed in California, her state, and how it was affecting her practice.
“I’m definitely becoming more vocal because I see the need. We just had six laws that were passed in California that will directly affect me. For example, one of them being an ammunition law. I shoot 500 to 1,000 rounds a day, having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo or when I bring ammo out for a competition or a match – those are very, very challenging for me," she told The Guardian.