If the name Ginny Thrasher doesn’t ring a bell, here’s a reminder: She was the first gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, making her the first U.S. Olympian to win gold that year, the first American to medal in the 10-meter event since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the first woman from WVU’s Rifle team to win an Olympic medal, and only the second WVU athlete to take home gold while attending the school. And that was all just one year of her reign.
Thrasher is now a WVU junior majoring in biomedical engineering. Along with training, it’s a lot to juggle. Her typical day goes like this: class 8 a.m.–1 p.m., practice 1–5 p.m., workouts 5:30–6:30 p.m., then team dinner, homework, and finally bed around 10:30. But this schedule doesn’t bother Thrasher. “I enjoy the challenge of balancing athletics and academics, and it has definitely given me better time-management skills,” she says.
She carries that uniformity over to competitions. “My sport is truly about consistency, so I try to be very consistent about my pre-competition routine,” she says. On match day, Thrasher eats the same thing for breakfast—which, like any day, involves no caffeine—then journals about her expectations and stretches. “I like to talk to my coaches and teammates a few minutes beforehand,” she explains, “and then take some time to relax by myself.” After a competition, she likes to eat and relax. She might watch a movie or just spend some time chilling out.
Despite her success, Thrasher is still the well-rounded, down-to-earth woman she was before. “Sometimes how you are viewed by other people changes as a result of your accomplishments, but recognizing I am the same person with or without a gold medal has helped me stay me despite all the distractions that come with success.” — JW
photographed by WVU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS