By Mary Milliken
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Italy’s Diana Bacosi defeated team mate and 2008 Olympic champion Chiara Cainero to win the gold medal in women’s skeet shooting on Friday, marking the first one-two finish for Italy in Olympic shooting.
History was also made by the bronze medal winner, defending champion American Kim Rhode, who joined an elite record-holding group of just five other Olympic athletes who have won a medal in six different Olympic Games.
Rhode’s milestone at the age of 37 might have somewhat overshadowed the Italians’ double-medal feat, but they said they were honored to be there the day she made history.
“Kimberly is great, the best woman shooter, so I am happy to be on the podium with her,” the 38-year-old Cainero said. “I think she’s happy with the bronze.”
In the stands was International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, his presence signaling the importance of Rhode’s historic moment.
Cainero went to the duel with her countrywoman after a perfect semi-final score of 16 out on the shotgun range in the hills outside Rio de Janeiro. But she missed two targets in the final round to Bacosi’s one.
“For me it was my fourth Olympics and for Diana it was her first,” Cainero said. “Maybe we helped each other.”
Bacosi, 33, said she had to battle opposing feelings of being happy to be in the final and a bit sad to be going up against a team mate.
“But I was dreaming of gold, so I really focused on each and every target,” Bacosi said.
Rhode noted that the conditions of her sixth Olympics were difficult, mostly in seeing the orange clay targets against the clouds and hills. She won her bronze in a tense shoot-off with China’s Wei Meng.
“I always say bronze is tough and gold is easy because when you are behind it takes that much more pressure and precision,” said Rhode.
“I just took it one target at a time and tried to calm myself and enjoy the moment.”
Friday’s podium was occupied by three mothers, which Cainero said shows “women are strong.”
“We can train, we can stay with the babies and do a very good job.”
(Reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Neil Robinson and Susanna Twidale)