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Former WVU athlete Campriani wins Olympic gold in rifle 3 positions

Gold medallist Italy's Niccolo Campriani poses at the men's 50m rifle shooting from 3 positions victory ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Royal Artillery Barracks August 6, 2012. Reuters

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By The Associated Press
Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, 11:58 a.m.

LONDON — All Niccolo Campriani had to do in the final was pick up his gold medal.

The Italian marksman and former West Virginia athlete shot an Olympic record of 1,180 points in qualification at the London Olympics men's 50-meter three-positions rifle, to lead the field by a massive eight points Monday.

It looked like an insurmountable difference, and it was.

Campriani never got in trouble during the final ten shots and claimed the gold with 1278.5. It also set a new best mark at the Olympics, improving on the 1275.1 by Rajmond Debevec of Slovenia 12 years ago.

Kim Jung-Hyun of South Korea narrowed the gap with Campriani by two points to win silver, overtaking bronze medalist Matthew Emmons in the last of the final's 10 shooting rounds after the American shot the lowest single-shot score of the final.

West Virginia rifle coach Jon Hammond, representing Great Britain, finished with a total score of 1142 (395 prone, 361 standing, 386 kneeling).

“You never know, especially in this event and what happened in the last two Olympics,” Campriani said, referring to Emmons, who led in both the 2004 and 2008 finals but tearfully missed out on a medal both times.

In 2004, Emmons accidentally fired at the wrong person's target on his last attempt, earning no points.

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