Campriani Credits WVU Teammate for Olympics Success - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Campriani Credits WVU Teammate for Olympics Success

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MORGANTOWN -

Nicco Campriani returned to his college campus Wednesday to meet the media and reflect on his experiences in winning rifle gold and silver in the London Olympics.

Flanked by his West Virginia University coach, Jon Hammond, and his teammate, Petra Zublasing, the Italian admitted that despite his individual success, there was another person worthy of praise for his results.

"It wasn't easy at all. I tried to stay focused, tried to stay in the moment and for this, I really have to thank Petra, of course," he says, pointing to his left where Zublasing sat, smiling. "We share this Olympics experience together and definitely a lot of days, she saved me."

Zublasing knew Campriani on a level that those who he met in the Olympic Village or at interview sessions or prior to each event did not. They were college teammates, they are both from Italy, but most of all, she is his girlfriend.

Through the hectic schedule that accompanies each athlete as he or she competes in the games, finding a way to balance the rigors of the events with just plain sanity can prove to be a far more difficult task than anticipated.

There needs to be some way to push aside the distractions and the expectations that may not exist in other competitions to the extent that they did in London. Campriani had that in Zublasing.

In the days when all he heard was about the medal count and about where he would finish in the standings in his upcoming event, Zublasing was there to help block it all out.

"I tried to ensure him in whatever I thought was best for him and that I would be there whatever's going to happen," says Zublasing. "Even if you lose tomorrow or if you do bad, it's not going to matter to me. I still like you. I liked you before and I still like you now."

Those conversations grounded the top-ranked shooter. They let him forget about the distractions he faced and remember who he was and why he took up the sport in the first place.

They provided that inspiration for each other while staying focused on their own event and concentrating on their own success, separate from who they were together as a couple.

"It's hard to be in the Olympics as a couple because you're trying not to be in two Olympics," says Zublasing. "You're only in your own, so you're trying not to be in your boyfriend's, too. It's a hard thing to do, but I think we did a great job."

Three events finals and two medal ceremonies for Campriani is certainly nothing to scoff at. After the simpler nature of the 10m air rifle, in which he earned his silver, Campriani found himself up eight points heading into the 50m three position final and worked his craft well enough to set a new Olympics record on the way to gold.

"At the end, after the three position final, I was so happy that everything was finished, so I did not enjoy that moment probably that much. It was just turning off my mind," Campriani says, laughing. "When you wake up the day after in your bed and you realize what happened the day before, that's great."

As he sat there, recounting tales from London, Campriani revealed that his medals were in his backpack in case any of the attending media wanted to see them while he was in the room.

He has no idea what he will do with them once all is settled, though he vows that he will not be mounting them on a wall with spotlights. Zublasing recommends putting them in the kitchen cupboard.

‘These are really just medals," he says.

But to so many others, they mean so much. To Zublasing, who in addition to calling Campriani her boyfriend is also a fellow member of Team Italy, the medals reach beyond a personal achievement.

"In any country, shooting is a tiny little sport. It has no money and no supporters and for us, it was huge to win as many medals as we did. For Italy, it was really, really important and every shooter knows that," says Zublasing. "I hope something is going to come from that, even if it's just one random little kid saw it on TV and comes tomorrow to the range to see what it is like, then we succeeded."

Campriani believes that both Italy and WVU will see the results of his wins in London.

"Probably many Italians will apply at WVU, that's for sure. A lot of people are talking about WVU right now back home," he says.

For a student-athlete who earned both an education as well as his rifle experience in Morgantown, he believes the attention his home country has on his American school is rightfully placed.

"It's not just sports for itself, but sports for opportunity," Campriani says. "I learned a lot, I got an education, I met great people who changed my life."

Specifically the one who was there in London and at that moment in Morgantown, seated to his left.

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