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The 19-year-old American edged out China’s Du Li, gold in Athens in 2004, with an Olympic-record score of 208. Defending Olympic champion Yi Siling, also of China, took the bronze medal.
Competing in her first Olympics, Thrasher, as the first champion of the 2016 Games, was awarded her medal by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and said the achievement was beyond her wildest dreams.
“About halfway through when I took the lead it kind of became clear to me that I was in contention for a medal, but I quickly pushed that thought away and focused on breathing and taking one shot at a time,” Thrasher said.
Afterwards, she noted that she had not attended the Olympics’ opening ceremony Friday night and had instead gone to bed early for her Olympic debut.