It’s the third consecutive Gold medal for the country, in rifle and pistol events, in Rio de Janeiro. Climbing on his second Olympic podium, the 29-year old shooter walks in the footsteps of Ralf Schumann, a legend of the sport.
Christian Reitz triumphed in today’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men final, pocketing Germany’s third Olympic gold in a row within three days, here at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Deodoro, after the successes of Barbara Engleder and Henri Junghaenel on the 11 and 12 of August.
Reitz scored 34 hits, equaling the Final Olympic Record set by the Cuba’s Leuris Pupo in London four years ago, and beat France’s Jean Quiquampoix (2nd with 30 hits) and the People’s Republic of China’s Li Yuehong (3rd with 27). The German winner had also equaled the Olympic record of 592 points during the morning’s qualifications.
Reitz left his opponents four hits behind him, to secure his second Olympic medal after Beijing 2008’s bronze.
“Germany reached excellent results here in Rio, but I was mainly focusing on my own competition. Basically, I was competing against myself, and I tried to concentrate on what I was doing, shot after shot,” said Reitz after the final.
“I had a problem on my second shots. I missed the second target a number of times, and I was not able to fix it, so I tried my best to hit at least the other four targets.”
Today’s was Germany’s fifth Olympic gold medal in men's 25m rapid fire pistol after 1936, 1992, 1996 and 2004, the country being the only NOC with five gold in this event.
Ralf Schumann, the greatest Rapid Fire shooter of all times with his three Olympic titles won in 1992, 1996 and 2004, is German. He shared an Olympic podium with Reitz in 2008, winning Beijing’s silver, but he retired in 2012.
Schumann had won his first Olympic silver in Seoul, in 1988, at the age of 26, and his first title in Barcelona at the age of 30.
29-year old Raitz, asked whether he is following the footsteps of his legendary teammate, said: “maybe, we will see it, just give me a few more Olympics and I will tell you.”
The country has a long tradition in the sport, with the German Shooting Sport Federation (DSB) recording over 1.4 million cardholders, and Rio 2016 Shooting sport finals have been the most viewed TV shows of the week.
“It’s the first time that our finals are the most watched shows in the German TV. It’s really good for the sport,” commented Christian.
20-year old Jean Quiquampoix, the current ISSF World Cup title holder competing in his first Olympics, passed through three shoot-off shots to reach the second step of the podium, beating China’s Li Yuehong with a score of 5-3-5 to 5-3-3.
“During the shoot-off I told to myself: stick to the basics! There was a lot of pressure and excitement, so I controlled my heartbeat and my breath rate to calm down and focus,” commented Quiquampoix.
“Jean is a very good shooter,” added Reitz at the press conference. “I often train with him and with Riccardo Mazzetti (the Italian finalist who placed 6th today, ed.). I think we did a good job in the lead up to the Games.”
The second Chinese finalist Zhang Fusheng took the 4th place with 21 hits. He was followed by the 2012 Olympic Champion Leuris Pupo of Cuba (5th with 18 hits) and by Italy’s Riccardo Mazzetti (6th with 10 hits).