Glasnovic earns trap gold after shoot-off in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Josip Glasnovic settled his feet into place, gently rocked back and forth to find balance, pausing a moment before loading his shotgun.
The Croatian shooter snapped the barrel back into place, raised his gun toward the overcast Brazilian sky and followed the target as it shot from the house. With a pull of the trigger and a blast of pink dust, Glasnovic had his gold medal after missing the London Games four years ago.
Glasnovic outlasted Italy's Giovanni Pellielo in the final match of men's trap the Rio Olympics on Monday, claiming the gold medal after hitting the fourth target of a shoot-off.
''I just focus on the target, keep it simple,'' Glasnovic said.
Glasnovic tied for second after two days of qualifying in Rio, hitting 120 of 125 shots. He was perfect in the opening round of the finals, hitting all 15 targets on a windy afternoon at the Olympic Shooting Centre to earn a spot in the gold medal match.
Facing Pellielo, the world-record holder, Glasnovic didn't flinch. He hit 13 of 15 targets to match the Italian and both shooters hit their first three in the shoot-off.
Shooting first, Pellielo missed on his fourth shot, giving Glasnovic his shot at gold. The 33-year-old calmly hit his fourth target, triumphantly raising his gun in the air as pink dust from the target floated off in the gusting wind.
Glasnovic's win gives Croatia gold medals in two straight Olympics after Giovanni Cernogoraz did at London in 2012.
''I shoot very well, very concentrated,'' said Glasnovic, who teared up during the medal ceremony as the Croatian national anthem played. ''I give all the best.''
The loss in the gold medal match adds to Pellielo's near misses. The world record holder earned silver medals at the 2004 Athens games and 2008 in Beijing, with a bronze in trap at the London Games, but no gold.
''Each time that I go on a podium, it's very important and each time it is different than the previous one,'' the 46-year-old said.
Great Britain's Edward Ling needed a shoot-off to get into the bronze medal match, but made the most of it once he got there. He hit 13 of 15 targets to beat David Kostelecky of Czech Republic for his first medal in three Olympics.
''It's just been nail-biting, it really has,'' Ling said. ''It's a dream come true. I never thought this day would come.''