Olympic Gold Medalist Ginny Thrasher Food Poisoned in Rio

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Photo courtesy: Javid Nikpour
Photo courtesy: Javid Nikpour

The summer of 2016 will prove to be one of Ginny Thrasher’s most memorable — a 19-year-old from Springfield, Virginia, Thrasher earned the first gold medal awarded during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio when she knocked off China in the women’s 10-meter air rifle contest.

Her victory placed the American flag atop two red Chinese flags for the first of many playings of the Star Spangled Banner during the games.

In addition to representing her nation at the top level, the West Virginia University student also carried on a proud Mountaineer tradition of excellence in shooting competitions — WVU has won 16 of the last 30 NCAA rifle championships, including top titles in all of the last four consecutive seasons.

But for the unshakable Thrasher, life was back to being a normal student yesterday, as she returned to class at West Virginia University to begin her sophomore year.

Thrasher, who is studying engineering in Morgantown, had a jam-packed schedule on her first day back, which included “three classes, two quizzes, shadowing by ESPN.com, multiple video and photo shoots and a press conference.”

Perhaps most impressive, however, is the fact that she did all of this while suffering the lingering effects of food poison.

“I think I left Rio on August 15, we went to the airport, and I ate in the Rio airport which proved to be a mistake as I got food poisoning on the plane…. Yesterday, I managed to land, get all of my bags and drove right down to West Virginia. Then, when I got there the team came over to my house with food that I couldn’t eat. It was very nice, they made it a very special celebration for me.”

When asked what made her sick, she answered, “I think it was pasta.”

Despite being sick, the sophomore spent the day being shadowed by ESPN, as well as attending second-semester physics, differential equations and intro to electrical engineering classes.

“I know Ginny is ready to go back to being another team member and another student and back to normal life. She’s great to work with in that respect. She’s incredibly honest, so I know she’ll come into my office and tell me what she’s thinking at any time. I think that will make it easy. She’ll have the same demands as always, but I think I’m more experienced now as well,” said WVU rifle coach Jon Hammond.

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