MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Shooting for his home country of Italy, former West Virginia University student-athlete Nicco Campriani won the Silver medal in the men’s 10m air rifle, today, inside the Royal Artillery Barracks, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Today’s finish is the first Olympic medal for the Florence native. He is the first former Mountaineer to earn a medal at the Summer Olympic Games since Mike Anti, shooting for the United States, won Silver in the men’s 50m rifle 3 position at the 2004 Athens Games.
No. 1- ranked Campriani, the reigning air rifle world champion, finished with a total of 701.5, while Romania’s Alin George Moldoveanu earned the Gold with a total of 702.1. India’s Gagan Narang placed third with a final total of 701.1.
Campriani and Moldoveanu each shot an Olympic-record 599 in the qualification round, but the former Mountaineer earned the final’s No. 1 spot with a 56-53 inner 10s edge. The duo kept the 10-shot final exciting, but Moldoveanu secured the Gold with a final score of 103.1, with only one shot lower than a 10.0.
Campriani shot 102.5 in the final, earning near-perfect 10.8s on the sixth and seventh shots, but also shooting three shots of 9.9 or less, including a 9.9 and a 9.4 on the eighth and ninth shots. The 2011 NCAA air rifle champion’s only dropped shot in the qualification came in the fourth relay (100-100-100-99-100-100).
“Nicco’s Silver medal is an unbelievable achievement and the result of so much hard work over the last four years," says WVU coach Jon Hammond. "He had a fantastic match today, and I am happy for him to be rewarded with a medal. He came into this match ranked No. 1 in the world, which brings a lot of pressure. He dealt with that pressure incredibly well.
“I’m very proud to be able to say I coached Nicco on the WVU rifle team. He is a fantastic ambassador for WVU rifle. He fully deserves all the credit he will receive, and hopefully we can look for more success from him at these Games.”
Today’s finish is an improvement on Campriani’s last Olympic experience, as he placed 12th in air rifle at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Campriani has two events remaining in the Games. He has qualified for the men’s 50m rifle prone, set for Friday, August 3, though he may drop out of the event to concentrate on the men’s 50m rifle 3 position, scheduled for Aug. 6; he is ranked No. 1 in the world in 3 position.
Hammond, shooting for Great Britain, and former WVU shooter Eric Uptagrafft, competing for the USA and ranked No. 6 in the world, are locks to compete in the men’s prone on Friday. The qualification round will begin at 9 a.m. London GMT, with the final scheduled for noon. A link for a live stream of the final can be found HERE