Former West Virginia University rifle National Champion Nicco Campriani captured his second Gold medal of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games this afternoon, as he successfully defended his Olympic title in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions competition at the Olympic Shooting Centre, located inside Deodoro Park, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Campriani, a native of Florence, Italy, shot a Final Olympic Record score of 458.8, narrowly edging Russia’s Sergey Kamenskiy, who finished second with a mark of 458.5. France’s Alexis Raynaud placed third with a final score of 448.4.
Today’s medal is Campriani’s second win of the week and third career Olympic Gold medal. A three-time All-American, his career medal count now stands at four (3 Gold, 1 Silver).
“It’s hard to put into words all that Nicco has achieved,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “To go through many challenges over the last four years, including the finals format change, and then to come into the Games and make all three finals, just as he did in London, and walk away with two Gold medals is just amazing.
“He’s a special athlete and a special guy. Nicco has worked incredibly hard. I’m incredibly proud of him, and I know all of WVU rifle and West Virginia University are proud of him as well. Just incredible performances during this last week in Rio.”
Campriani is now the first rifle athlete to win three Olympic Gold medals and the first to win two Gold medals at one Olympic Games. Additionally, he is the first back-to-back Olympic Champion in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions since Malcolm Cooper won two straight at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
Campriani was the last athlete to qualify for today’s final, as he finished the qualification relay in eighth place with a 1174-62x mark, shooting 393 kneeling, 397 prone and 384 standing.
Today’s competition was the final rifle event of the Games. At least one shooter with ties to the WVU rifle program qualified for all five finals, and a Mountaineer won three events: sophomore Ginny Thrasher
(women’s 10m air rifle), and Campriani (men’s 10m air rifle, men’s 50m rifle 3 positions).
The WVU rifle program doubled its all-time Olympic Gold medal count in Rio, with the total now standing at six. Since the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, the WVU rifle program has earned nine Olympic medals.
“It’s been a dream Olympics for the WVU rifle program,” Hammond added. “We had so much representation in Rio and so many great performances. To have a representative in every final was amazing, and three Gold medals is incredible.
“All four shooters – Nicco, Ginny, Petra (Zublasing) and Ziva (Dvorsak) – had a fantastic week. I’m sure our program will receive an incredible boost over the next few weeks. The publicity for our team and the NCAA sport of rifle has been amazing. I’m proud of each of them – they all represented themselves and their countries so well. It’s very gratifying as a coach to watch them have so much success.”
Of note, a current or former NCAA rifle shooter won four of the five rifle events in Rio, with Kentucky graduate Henri Junghaenel winning Gold in the men’s 50m rifle prone on Aug. 12.
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