Ginny Thrasher

Will Shaner
USA Shooting

First four U.S. shooters qualify for Olympics; Ginny Thrasher will not defend Rio title

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Lucas Kozeniesky, Will ShanerMary Tucker and Ali Weisz became the first U.S. shooters to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at air rifle trials that finished Sunday.

Kozeniesky is the lone returning Olympian of the group, having placed 21st in Rio.

Meanwhile, Ginny Thrasher, who won the first gold medal of the Rio Games, will not defend that air rifle title in Tokyo. But she can still make the U.S. team in another event.

Tucker and Shaner are both 18-year-old University of Kentucky students. They are the third and fourth U.S. Olympic qualifiers across all sports so far born in 2001 or later.

The youngest U.S. Olympians in Rio (table tennis player Kanak Jha) and PyeongChang (figure skater Vincent Zhou) were born in 2000.

Thrasher, the youngest U.S. shooter in Rio as a 19-year-old West Virginia student, placed fifth at air rifle trials. She can still make the team via smallbore rifle trials, which she also did for Rio (placing 11th).

Thrasher was the surprise winner of the first medal event of the 2016 Olympics with no major international championship experience.

MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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USA’s Thrasher 11th, Germany’s Engleder wins shooting gold with record

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
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She finished just off the podium on Day 1, but made up for it less than a week later.

Barbara Engleder of Germany set a final round Olympic record by shooting a 458.6, just .2 ahead of silver medalist Binbin Zhang, to win the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions on Thursday.

Zhang is from China, as is bronze winner Li Du.

Thrasher did not make the final round, finishing 11th. Fellow American shooter Sarah Scherer finished 33rd.

Engleder finished fourth in the 10m air rifle, the event won by Team USA’s Virginia Thrasher.