Campriani wins Olympic rifle gold, quits to go to Sheffield Uni
Italian Niccolo Campriani thrashed the field to win the men's 50 metres three position rifle gold medal at the London Games on Monday, his final event before he trades bullets for books and heads to Sheffield University for his Masters.
The 24-year-old will be the centre of attention when he begins his masters degree in sports engineering at Sheffield University in England in September after claiming gold with an Olympic record of 1278.5.
"I'm glad that shooting has ended in this way, the best way. I was good and lucky," Campriani told reporters at the Royal Artillery Barracks in south east London.
"I need a break from shooting, I will be back in 2013 but I really need a long break and I'm going to study. I already did my bachelors in United States and now a new adventure with new motivation."
Kim Jong-hyun of South Korea was a distant second on 1272.5 with American Matthew Emmons third on 1271.3 after more final shot wobbles.
Campriani's competitors in the discipline will be glad the Italian is taking a sabbatical after this display.
He also won silver in the men's 10m air rifle earlier in the Games but the 50m gold was always on the cards after he scorched through qualifying, where competitors shoot 40 times in kneeling, prone and standing positions.
Having established an eight-point lead after qualifying, the other seven finalists were left fighting for silver and bronze in the 10-shot standing position final.
"I think I won today because of my kneeling position, which is unbelievable because I hate kneeling. It is the worst position for me and I just shot great," the Italian said.
"In the final, eight-point gap, everybody thought it was enough, too much, but you never know.
"It wasn't fun. I had everything to lose and just tried to shoot good shots."
That he did, peppering the 10.4 millimetre highest scoring ring with scores of 10.2, 10.4 and 10.7 out of a possible 10.9 to show why he is world number one.
He could afford to close out with scores of 9.7 and nine and still win by six points.
The battle for silver was much closer with Kim overtaking Emmons in the final round after the American shot a woeful 7.6 and the South Korean a 10.4.
The last shot by Emmons was reminiscent of his disastrous finale at the Beijing Games where he shot a 4.4 when leading to miss out on a medal.
That followed his 2004 Athens Games meltdown where he hit a target in the adjoining lane when set to clinch gold.
"I thought my Olympic winning days were over and I am going to enjoy being back on the podium," Emmons told reporters.