Campriani takes Gold at Summer Olympics
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:08
In his four years with the West Virginia rifle team, Nicco Campriani made himself known as one of the best shooters in the nation.
A couple weeks ago, he solidified his place among the best in the world at the Summer Olympic Games in London. The former Mountaineer earned a Silver medal in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event July 30, before winning gold in the men’s 50-meter air rifle three positions Aug. 6.
"I had everything to lose," Campriani said after he won. "I worked really hard before the competition, and there were a lot of expectations on me, which made things even harder."
Campriani, who was shooting for Italy, was able to jump out to a big lead early in the competition by shooting an
Olympic-record 1,180 in the qualifying round.
His early lead gave him the chance to continue building and finish with an Olympic-record 1,278.5 points, beating Kim Jonghyun of the Republic of Korea, who won the Silver medal with a score of 1,272.5.
"The last 20 shots, kneeling was really difficult. There were a lot of heart beats, and I was shaking," Campriani said.
Like many Olympic athletes, Campriani’s medal-winning performances didn’t come without a lot of hard work put in throughout the last four years.
He competed in the 2008 Games in Beijing but came away empty-handed and disappointed.
"I made it," Campriani said. "I’m glad because it’s not just these 10 days – it’s (the last) four years.
"I’m feeling very strong emotions. I’ve reached my aim, and I am delighted."
But he was also quick to acknowledge that all the credit shouldn’t go to him. He’s had a lot of people in his corner during his career who have helped push him to where he is now.
"Although shooting is an individual sport, you still need support," Campriani said. "I’ve had tons of messages over the last few days.
"I have a huge, long list of people to dedicate my medal to: (WVU shooter) Petra (Zublasing), my girlfriend, and my parents – who have supported me all the way through my American training. They had heart problems in the past, but they are here, and they’re fine."
As far as what the future holds, Campriani is just going to take it easy for a while to take in everything that happened in London.
But don’t worry, he’ll be back.
"I need a break from shooting. I’ll be back in 2013, but I need a long break," Campriani said. "I’m going to study (sports engineering) in Sheffield for a new adventure with a new motivation.
"I’m glad shooting has ended this way. It’s the best way."