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Campriani wins Olympic gold in rifle 3 positions


Associated Press

Updated August 6, 2012

(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

LONDON (AP) Known more for misses than medals, Matt Emmons finally made his way to the podium in the 50-meter three-position rifle event at the Olympics.

The U.S. marksman held on to win the bronze medal on Monday at the London Games, where the gold went to Niccolo Campriani of Italy after a record-setting performance.

Campriani set Olympic marks of 1,180 in qualifying and 1,278.5 for his overall score, easily topping silver medalist Kim Jong-hyun of South Korea, who finished with 1,272.5 points. Kim overtook Emmons on the final shot of the competition, after the American - whose medal hopes were doomed by last-shot blunders in 2004 and 2008 - managed only a 7.6 with his 10th bullet of the medal round.

Emmons was all smiles afterward. A medal was more than enough.

"My knees were shaking before I picked that gun up," he said. "I basically just tightened up my muscles as hard as I could and just relaxed them right before I picked the gun up to try to get that stuff out of my muscles and get to relax."

He was the leader with one shot left in three-position at Athens in 2004, then somehow managed to shoot at the wrong target. The zero score knocked him out of the medal standings.

In Beijing, Emmons again led with one shot left. That time, the gun went off before he was aligned with the target.

"You never know, especially in this event and what happened in the last two Olympics," Campriani said.

Emmons, 31, won gold in the 50-meter prone rifle event at Athens and silver in the same event at Beijing four years later, but he is best-known for his Olympic three-position misfortunes.

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