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.
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.