Dania Jo Vizzi, 22, captured her first women’s open skeet title Friday at the ISSF World Championship for Shotgun in Moscow, just three years after being crowned the junior world champion.
Vizzi finished with a score of 54, while Russia’s Albina Shakirova captured silver with 52 and Cyprus’ Andri Eleftheriou got bronze with a score of 43.
“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet,” said Vizzi, a native of Odessa, Florida. “It feels amazing that my dad was here to watch and I have all these people supporting me. It’s an amazing feeling.”
When the final round came down to just three shooters and Vizzi knew she’d earned a spot on the podium, she was able to relax a bit. At the same time, she said, she knew she was in the lead and started to focus in on winning gold.
Soon, Vizzi and Shakirova, who competed at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, were the only two left. They each had two doubles remaining and Vizzi led by just one target. She took one extra breath, she said, before the final two and told herself, “You got this.”
“Basically, talking to myself,” she said.
Vizzi hit each of her last four targets, and after the final two she turned around toward the stands, pumped her first, blew a kiss to her dad in the stands and one into the camera to her mom at home.
"Oh my gosh, after I pulled the trigger the second time, tears just started flooding my eyes,” she said, “I couldn’t see.”
She was still wiping away tears as the medals were presented.
“It’s my first open world championships, and going from junior to open it’s just so crazy to be able to shoot with all these amazing people and have people cheering for me,” she said. “All these emotions ran through me all at once.”
Vizzi previously won three medals at the junior world championships (silver in 2013, gold in 2014, bronze in 2015). She was also the silver medalist at the 2016 national championships and the national bronze medalist in 2015. Vizzi, a trained dancer who qualified for the Juilliard Dance Intensive but chose to focus on shooting, is nicknamed “Shooterina.”
Six-time Olympian Kim Rhode also made the final and finished the day in fourth place. Rhode has three world championship medals (one gold, one silver, one bronze) in her career.