We can summarise the last 12 months in the life of Niccolò Campriani as a year lived at high speed, almost like a Formula One Grand Prix, which ended with a hugely satisfying double. He received an internship at Ferrari under its partnership with CONI and won two gold medals at the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The boy from Tuscany, after a few days of relaxation in the company of his girlfriend Petra Zublasing, a fellow shooter, returned to Maranello to meet colleagues and friends.
‘A year ago I came here to prepare a tool that was very useful to me at the Olympics,’ Campriani explans. ‘Then, in early 2016, I moved to the US to start preparation for the Games. I trained first with the US team and then with the Italian one. They were really “high-speed” months, but in the end everything went right for me.’
He continues: ‘The run up to the first competition, the 10 metre air rifle, was not at all easy: too much adrenaline. On those occasions we don't sleep a lot and are in danger of thinking too much, such as for example about the fact that rules have been introduced that are too penalising because they wipe out the scores that the athletes take to the final, and so the awarding of the medal becomes a lottery based on a few shots.
‘However, in the second competition, the 50 metre three position rifle, I was happy with my result: I fired the last shot thinking I had taken a wonderful silver but instead I won by three-tenths of a point, about two millimetres, after 45 shots...’
When sport is practiced at such a high level equipment is key and the work done at Ferrari was a great help for Campriani in his choice of tools: ‘At Maranello I developed a grip that allowed us to make the most accurate possible assessment of the material we had available. Our aim was to minimise the human element in the evaluation phase, so as to really analyse the worth of the equipment.
‘We chose the type of ammunition and above all I saw that the Petra rifle was more accurate. This is why in competition I decided to use that weapon, and it paid off in the end,’ Campriani says as he tours the departments, shaking hands and signing autographs for staff.
Now he needs a well-deserved break. What happens in the future is something of an open book: ‘I can't say now what I will do in a few months. I want to look around, to assess how best to pursue the other goals I have set myself. I could continue to shoot but I also want to get involved with my other passions. In everything I do, I carry around the weight of experience built through shooting.
‘My sport, like every other, also teaches us how to behave in everyday life. Shooting requires composure and discipline, which is why it helps us control our emotions and this is another useful lesson, because life always brings its difficulties and the difference is the way in which we live with these, maybe overcoming them.’
One thing is certain in Campriani's mind: ‘The future will be exciting.’