19-year-old Olympian Ginny Thrasher—who won the 2016 Games’ first gold medal when she bested China’s Du Li in Women’s 10m Air Rifle—had only been shooting four years when she took the podium last Saturday. Her shooting career began when she joined her high-school shooting team—a team that might not have existed without help from The NRA Foundation.
The NRA Foundation routinely gives grants to scholastic shooting programs, allowing high schools and universities to create and improve shooting teams. Ginny’s school, West Springfield High, was the recipient of two of these grants. The first allowed the school to purchase the equipment necessary to found the team, and the second funded enough additional equipment for the team to take on more members—one of whom was Ginny Thrasher.
“Without [The NRA Foundation’s] support, there would be no rifle team at West Springfield High School, and Ginny would not be shooting precision rifle at the 2016 Olympics,” Ginny’s high school coach, Edie Williams, said, adding that the NRA grants “provide the means for young people who may not otherwise engage in a varsity sport activity, to join a sport that holds many other opportunities.”