Italian policewoman Jessica Rossi was one shot from perfection on Saturday as she won the Olympic women’s trap shooting gold with a world record 99 out of 100 hits at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London.
Despite rain-swept conditions, the 20-year-old became the first shooter to hit a maximum 75 in qualifying and she only failed to set an unsurpassable world record by missing her 92nd shot.
“Unbelievable,” said Rossi’s coach, Albano Pera.
“To score 24 in the final is very, very big and strong,” Pera added.
Competitors fire at 75 flying targets in qualifying and another 25 in the final.
Rossi said the win was extra special as she comes from Ferrara, badly hit by a major earthquake in May.
Her parents are still repairing their damaged house.
“You can’t get any happier than this. What I wanted was a medal, not a record,” she said.
“I am still competing in the junior categories, so it was important for me to get this victory. The world record is fantastic, but the main thing is a medal,” she added.
She revealed the secret behind her calm performance in the final — a timely catnap.
“I’ll be honest, I got a 20-minute nap before the final. It helped me stay calm and focused,” Rossi said.
While there was little doubt about the gold medal, the remaining podium places were decided by a shootoff when Slovakia’s Zuzana Stefecekova, France’s Delphine Reau and San Marino’s Alessandra Perilli all scored 93 points.
Stefecekova, whose 2006 world record was beaten by Rossi, took silver for the second successive Games after finishing runner-up in Beijing, while France’s Delphine Reau claimed bronze as she did at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
San Marino’s Alessandra Perilli was the unlucky shooter to miss out on a medal and she had to be content with fourth place.
Australia’s Suzanne Balogh, the 2004 Athens gold medalist, was sixth, while Beijing champion Satu Makela-Nummela of Finland was seventh.
China’s world champion Liu Yingzi was knocked out in qualifying.
Stefecekova said there had been two events taking place on Saturday.
“Jessica is in her own league. She was in perfect form. She was running her own competition today. I don’t know what she had for breakfast,” Stefecekova said.
Also on Saturday in the women’s 50m three-position rifle, Jamie Lynn Gray of the US won gold with an Olympic record score of 691.9 points, beating Serbia’s Ivana Maksimovic in silver and the Czech Republic’s Adela Sykorova, who took bronze.
Gray’s record bettered that of Chinese defending champion Du Li, who was knocked out after finishing 13th in qualifying.