MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Former West Virginia University student-athlete Nicco Campriani (Italy) shot an Olympic record and won Gold in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions, today, inside the Royal Artillery Barracks, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Campriani, a native of Florence, is the first Mountaineer athlete to earn the Gold medal since James Jett (USA) won Gold as an alternate on the men’s 4 x 100m relay team at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.
All told, four former WVU student-athletes have earned Olympic Gold, including Jerry West (USA, men’s basketball, 1960 Rome Summer Olympics) and Jack Writer (USA, 50m rifle 3 positions 1972 Munich Summer Olympics). Additionally, Dr. Ed Etzel, a psychologist for the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, won Gold for the US Team in the men’s 50m rifle prone at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Dr. Etzel served as the head rifle coach for 11 seasons.
Campriani, ranked No. 1 in the world in the event, won today with an Olympics final record of 1278.5. He shot an Olympic-record 1180 (396 prone, 390 standing, 394 kneeling) in the qualification round and 98.5 in the final. Campriani entered the final in the No. 1 position, eight points ahead of Matthew Emmons (USA).
"I had everything to lose," Campriani says. "I worked really hard before the competition, and there were a lot of expectations on me, which made things even harder. The last 20 shots kneeling were really difficult. There werere a lot of heart beats, and I was shaking.
"I reached my aim (today), and I am delighted.)"
Today’s finish is a vast improvement on Campriani’s last Olympic 3 positions competition, as he placed 39th at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Kim Jonghyun of the Republic of Korea won Silver with a final score of 1272.5 (1171, 101.5), while Emmons secured Bronze with a total of 1271.3 (1172, 99.3). Emmons is coached by Dave Johnson, a former Mountaineer shooter.
Seven-year WVU coach Jon Hammond (Great Britain) also shot today and finished with a total score of 1142 (395 prone, 361 standing, 386 kneeling).
Today’s event was the final rifle competition of the Games. Campriani, the 2011 NCAA air rifle champion, leaves London with two medals, having secured Silver in the men’s 10m air rifle on July 30; he also finished eighth in the men’s 50m rifle prone on Aug. 3. Campriani is the first former Mountaineer shooter to win two Olympic medals in one Games and the second to earn two career medals, as Writer also won Silver at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics.