Jongoh wins third 50-meter pistol gold after miscue
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Jin Jongoh put a shot in the 6-ring midway through the finals, the shooting equivalent of shanking a shot into the woods during the final round of a golf major.
No way would he come back from that, the South Korean thought, yet he kept his focus, hoping to find a way back at least into medal contention.
Jin did more than that, putting his name up there with the greatest shooters in Olympic history.
Stringing together one clutch shot after another, Jin rallied from his inexplicable miscue to overcome Vietnam's Hoang Xuan Vinh in the men's 50-meter pistol finals Wednesday at the Rio Olympics, becoming the first shooter to win three straight gold medals in the same discipline.
''This is the most memorable medal I have won,'' said Jin, who has four gold medals and two silvers combined in pistol and air pistol. ''Compared to other Olympic Games, this was the most challenging Games and I was under the greatest pressure.''
Jin was the top qualifier in windy conditions and was in good shape after eight rounds of the eight-man elimination finals, which were held inside at the finals hall.
Then the inexplicable happened: Jin, the world-record holder in two disciplines, shot 6.6 on his ninth shot. That set off a collective groan from the crowd dropped him to the bottom of the standings.
''I missed the aiming,'' Jin said. ''I changed my position and said to myself, don't make the same mistake.''
Jin survived elimination when he hit 9.6 on his 10th shot and Slovakia's Pavol Kopp fired a 7.1. Jin followed with a 10.4 and started finding the 10-ring consistently to move up the standings.
Still alive, but a 4.4-point deficit with 10 shots left was a lot to ask.
''I didn't think I could do it,'' Jin said.
He just kept shooting - and hitting his mark.
Jin moved into a tie with eventual bronze medalist Kim Song Guk of North Korea with four shots left and assured himself of at least silver with shots of 10.4 and 10.2.
Jin entered the final round just 0.2 points behind Hoang, who appeared to be unnerved by Jin's charge.
Jin shot 10.0 on his penultimate shot to Hoang's 8.5 to grab the lead. Jin fired a 9.3 on his final shot, but it turned out to be good enough after Hoang shot 8.2.
''The beauty of this sport is that you can never predict what is going to happen,'' said Hoang, who earned Vietnam's first Olympic gold in any event on Saturday in 10-meter air pistol. ''I am very pleased to earn a gold and silver medal.''