CMP Summer Air Rifle Camp Alum Earns Spot on 2016 Olympic Team
On April 4, 2016, Virginia “Ginny” Thrasher, 19, of Springfield, Va., secured her seat to Rio during the Olympic Selection Match at Fort Benning, Ga. – clinching a Team USA spot with a score of 586/600 in the match. She will be representing the United States on the women’s three-position rifle team in August at the XXXI Olympiad in Brazil.
“It’s been quite the experience, learning the path for qualifying for the Olympics – because I knew absolutely nothing about it,” she said with a laugh.
Though her extraordinary accomplishment is a celebrated time in her life story, she has also marked a notable moment in the story of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) as well. Ginny will be the first CMP Summer Air Rifle Camp alum to have ever made it to the Olympic team.
“We have had a couple of counselors go to the Olympics, but no one who actually received training as a junior in the CMP Summer Air Rifle Camp program,” said Sommer Wood, Summer Camp director. “This is a pretty exciting event for us, and it has been a goal for Dan Durben (fellow camp director) and I since we started building the program in 2004.”
A familiar face to the CMP, Ginny received eighth place during the 60 Shot National Air Rifle Match at the 2013 National Matches at Camp Perry, along with first place in the Junior match and fourth overall in the Open category during the 2015 Camp Perry Open event. In 2014, she received Junior Distinguished Badge #771 and was awarded a CMP Scholarship for her accomplishments the following year.
She attended the CMP Summer Air Rifle Camp to further hone her rifling abilities – a Three-Position Camp at the South Competition Center in Anniston, Ala., in 2012, and the Colorado Springs Standing Camp in 2013.
“The best part about CMP Summer Air Rifle Camp for me was the focus on the basics,” Ginny said. “I think no matter what skill level you are your process can always be improved by going back to the basics. I very much use those basics and the good foundation set for me in CMP and other camps every time I shoot.”
Ginny says the camps also taught her about the opportunities involved with collegiate shooting. In fact, she says before the camps, she wasn’t even aware that shooting was a college sport. After talking to the counselors, who were actual collegiate athletes, she was able to gain perspective on what it would be like to shoot in college.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, one of the camps prepared her for her future even more by giving her the chance to hear from past Olympians about their experiences in competition and beyond.
“During the advanced standing camp I attended, we had the unique opportunity of viewing an Olympian’s panel,” she said. “This panel had over 10 rifle Olympians, and it was very informative to be able to meet and ask questions to some of the most advanced shooters in the nation.”
And now, she will be one of those Olympians herself. The first Olympian to have ever received training from the CMP Summer Camps, Ginny is looking forward to all of the ways she will continue to grow from her discoveries in Rio.
“Rio is a unique learning opportunity for me to experience international shooting at the highest level,” she said. “My goal for this trip is to not only learn but to perform the best I can by focusing on my process.”
She went on, “The Olympics is very different from any other match because it is every sport and every nation. To me, this is a great opportunity to positively represent the USA at the highest level as well as experience the unique culture present in professional athletics. Brazil is also a beautiful country, and I look forward to seeing more of the city of Rio.”
Good luck to Ginny and the rest of Team USA in Rio!
**Receive the same training as 2016 Olympian, Ginny Thrasher! There are still spaces available at some of our 2016 CMP Air Rifle Camp – for more information, visit http://thecmp.org/air/cmp-competition-center-event-matches/junior-air-rifle-camps-and-clinics/.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.