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30 Jul, 2021 14:23

Vitalina Batsarashkina: Meet the sharp-shooting Russian double Olympic gold medalist the internet is going wild for

Vitalina Batsarashkina: Meet the sharp-shooting Russian double Olympic gold medalist the internet is going wild for

Team ROC's Vitalina Batsarashkina has become the first female shooter to win THREE medals at the same Olympic Games after she surged to gold in the 25m rapid fire pistol event on Friday, becoming a viral smash in the process.

Batsarashkina carved out a piece of history for herself when she pipped South Korean shooter Kim Min-jung for first place in the 25m pistol event on Friday, adding to the gold she had already won in the 10m air pistol and silver in the 10m air pistol mixed teams earlier this week. 

This one didn't come easy, though. The event went down to the wire, with Batsarashkina besting her South Korean rival in a shoot-off to determine the destination of the gold medal by a score of 4-1. 

"I don’t know how I did it, but I pulled through," the gleeful 24-year-old said following her latest success. 

"I'm excited and very happy to be here and to have won my gold and looking forward to going back home pretty soon," she added.

"I hope shooting will be popular in my hometown of Omsk and we will be able to build a shooting range for our athletes to train in good conditions."


However, Batsarashkina's performance on the range wasn't the only thing that was noted by her leagues of online followers.

The Russian was hailed for her shooting stance, with one tweet featuring Batsarashkina's laid back hands-in-pocket posture garnering nearly 400,000 likes on Twitter, as well as more than 40,000 retweets (although the image itself is actually from the Rio Olympics in 2016). 

Indeed, her stance proved to be quite divisive online - with a host of Twitter know-it-alls queueing up to offer shooting advice to someone who is quite literally the best in the world at what she does, and who is merely following Olympic rules which state "athletes have to shoot with one hand only, unsupported."

"Does it look cool? Yes. Will their wrist shatter the moment they fire? Absolutely," wrote one person incorrectly to the viral image of Batsarashkina's shooting stance.

"Not only are you going to have a broken wrist or nose, you're also gonna have to deal with the fact you one handed that gun for no reason other than to be bold," wrote another to the double-gold winning Olympic athlete, apparently unaware that the rules of Olympic shooting require participants to use just one hand when firing.

"When you're shooting as precisely as that, your heartbeat throws off your aim. So they stand as relaxed as possible and still maintain a firm stance. You won't see that among tacticool dorks in the US," explained another.

Batsarashkina further delighted Twitter denizens with her apparent love for the popular 'The Witcher' series by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, which has spawned video games and a Netflix series, and which focuses on mystical figures who use supernatural abilities to hunt monsters. 

Batsarashkina, though, dispels rumors that she wears the medallion as a good luck charm and says that top-level athletes shouldn't bow to superstition.

"It's not a talisman. It's a medallion from a video game," she said. "I can't call it a talisman because even when I didn't even wear it or forgot it at home, I still got medals."

Batsarashkina's heroics have increased Team ROC's medal haul to 34 as of Friday afternoon, with her two golds meaning that the ROC delegation can now claim fourth place in the overall medals table with 10. 

Also on rt.com ‘I hadn’t fired’: Freak judging howler almost lost Russian shooting star crucial points on her way to nation’s 1st Olympics gold