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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Unflappable American teenager Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday, holding her nerve against two Chinese Olympic champions to clinch the women's 10m air rifle event.
The 19-year-old U.S. college champion edged out China's Du Li, gold in Athens in 2004, with an Olympic-record score of 208 in the sport's new finals format. Defending Olympic champion Yi Siling, also of China, took the bronze medal.
Thrasher learned to love shooting while hunting deer with her grandfather when she was in eighth grade.
"I got my first deer and I liked the adrenaline of pulling the trigger," she said.
She then joined her high school air rifle team and was recruited by West Virginia University, where she became a national collegiate champion as a freshman this year.