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Vizzi Claims World’s Top Honor in Women’s Skeet

MOSCOW (September 8, 2017)

The words that help make up Dania Vizzi’s Twitter handle (@daniavizzi) perhaps stands as a prophetic reference to September 8, 2017. “I’m gonna show ya what little girls are made of, gunpowder and lead,” it reads.  Today at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships, we found out what Vizzi’s made of as she shot her way to an impressive world title in Women’s Skeet. 

The lyric from country megastar Miranda Lambert’s 2007 hit song could serve as the anthem for a powerhouse women’s skeet team that put a performance together for the ages at the Fox Lodge shooting range. The team gathered six total medals including a medal sweep in the junior division and two team gold medals behind two world-record scores.  

Katie Jacob’s world title in the junior competition adds another superlative to Team USA’s skeet prowess, as the U.S. is only team ever to win both golds in Women’s Skeet events and we’ve now done that in two of the last three World Championships. Further evidence of just how successful the U.S. Women’s skeet squads have been in recent history, consider that in the five World Championships contested since 2010, U.S. Skeet women have earned an impressive 25 medals in that time. 

-- JUNIOR WOMEN’S SKEET RECAP --    

Success at the World Championships is nothing new to Vizzi (Odessa, Florida), having now medaled in each of the last four World Championships. She zoomed onto the shooting scene in 2013 as the runner-up as a junior, then followed that up by winning a Junior World title in 2014, and then stepping onto junior podium one last time as a bronze medalist in 2015. 

But now, she’s World Champion, topping a world-class Finals field that included two of the three most recent Olympic medalists including champion Diana Bascosi and Vizzi’s six-time Olympic medalist teammate Kim Rhode (El Monte, California).  After qualifying second with a 73/75, the 22-year-old Florida athlete hit 54 out 60 targets to finish atop of the podium, beating Russia’s Albina Shakirova, who pocketed the silver medal by hitting 52 targets on her home turf.  

Vizzi shot the first part of the match chasing Cyprus’ Andri Eleftheriou, who held onto first place for about half of the Final. The reigning U.S. National Champion then moved up to the top of the leaderboard as the Cypriot shooter started missing, but then had to fend off Shakirova right to the last target.  Eleftheriou would eventually take bronze with 43 hits. 

“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet, but it’s amazing,” Vizzi said. “It’s been really hard going from Junior to Open. I’ve really had to step my game up. I was definitely nervous, but the crowd really helped. I loved all the cheering, even the music helped me! I was kind of swaying when I wasn’t up. The crowd, the music, it all just made me more energetic. It was really just a lot of fun!” 

She added: “Right after I hit my last shot, I just started crying I was so excited. All of the emotions hit me at once. I was like ‘Oh, I’m so sorry!’” 

Vizzi becomes the first woman ever in skeet to win both a junior and open world title in her career and is one of just three women ever in the shotgun events to do so in ISSF history.  This world title continues an impressive streak for the U.S. in women’s skeet as they now can claim an historic three-straight world champions in the event by three different people, something no other country has done in a women’s shotgun event. Showcasing the American depth in the event, none of the world titles comes from arguably one of the greatest shooting sport athletes of all time in Rhode. 

Rhode would have to settle for fourth after shooting 74 and finishing first in Qualification.  It’s the third time Rhode has finished just off the podium at a World Championship having finished with the same result twice when she shot Double Trap back in 1999 and 2003.  It was the first World Championship Final for the three-time World Champs medalist since earning bronze in 2011. 

With the top-two Qualification scores as well as the 19th-place performance of Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), the U.S. Women’s Skeet trio earned a Team gold medal and broke the world record with a total team score of 216. They beat the Italian squad by five targets with Russia earning bronze with 209 hits. 

The 2017 ISSF Shotgun World Championships, which includes 640 athletes from 76 countries competing in 22 official medal events, continues Saturday with the final 50 Qualification Targets, plus a Final in Men’s Skeet.  The highest men’s Qualifier thus far for Team USA is Christian Elliott (Greenwood, Indiana) sitting in 28th-place with a score of 71/75. The highest junior qualifiers are Eli Christman (Hixson, Tennessee) with a current 24th-place result following a three-round score of 69 and Eli Ellis (College Station, Texas) in 28th-position with the same score.  View full results. 

The Championship concludes Sunday with a Mixed Team Skeet event. 

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*Thanks to the ISSF for the editorial assistance.

 

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National Shooting Sports Foundation