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Riccardo Mazzetti is a Lapua sponsored rapid fire pistol shooter who is well known on the international shooting scene, with top performances in the ISSF World Cup, the European and World Championships and the Olympics. Riccardo hails from Italy, but also spends a lot of time in Germany. “My hometown is not far away from Milano in Italy. My family still resides there and I am always happy to visit my parents for some time..."Hotel Mamma" is the best one! I also travel a lot for training and I split my time between Italy and Germany. I am often in Stuttgart because my girlfriend Julia lives there. She is also a shooter in the German National Team and we sometimes train together.”
Unlike many other top shooters, Riccardo started out fairly late in the sport. “The only connection to the shooting world in my family was my grandfather, a hunter. It was always fascinating to hold his guns and one day I simply asked my father to take me to the shooting range in town to try shooting. I started with the air pistol and I can't say I had a gift for shooting...but it was fun and I kept on training! I shot my first shot at a shooting range in 1998 at the age of 14. It was quite late to start and dream of an Olympic shooting career, but at the time I didn't know that one day it would even be my job.“ Riccardo is a soldier in the Sport Unit of the Italian Army. “Shooting has been my job since 2005. I also went to University, even if was hard to prepare for exams during the competition season. I now have a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance and a Master’s in Economics and Management.”
When it comes to shooting competitively, Riccardo focuses on one discipline. “My shooting discipline is Rapid Fire Pistol and I have time to train properly just the one. I love shooting Free Pistol sometimes and whenever there is a chance I ask other shooters to try their disciplines. Rifle Three Positions or Shotgun doesn't matter...as long as I can shoot!” Riccardo also likes to shoot in a different setting – more precisely on the basketball court, as it is his favourite sport along with boulder climbing. “I played basketball for many years when I was younger and when I have the chance I do it still. Recently I've also fallen in love with climbing. It is a great challenge; a combination of strength, technique and mental toughness. It’s really fun.”
Photo by the International Shooting Federation - http://www.issf-sports.org/
When it comes to competitive shooting, practice makes perfect, and Riccardo works hard for his successes. “I practice at the range 4 or 5 times per week. I shoot around 1000 rounds per week but it can be 1500 during a training camp with my team. I love my Lapua X-Act ammo, it’s simply the best. Precision, steadiness, reliability...is there anything else one needs to trust a cartridge at the Olympic Games?”
Riccardo attended the Rio Olympics 2016 and finished 6th in the rapid fire pistol. A very proud moment for him, although he has an even more fond competition moment: “The best shooting memory for me is when I won the World Cup in Beijing in 2014, setting a new Final World Record. Of course taking part in the Olympic Final in Rio 2016 was emotional, but that time in China meant something more to me.”
In the next couple of months, Riccardo will be working on his technique. “My biggest challenge in shooting is to control my mind and my thoughts. The brain can be so fast under stress and think too many things at the same time that I lose the focus on what I am going to do: rise up my arm, bring the front sight on the target and pull the trigger. Shooting is not so complicated, but to control the mind definitely is! So my goal is to be well prepared for the next season and the World Championships. As a general goal for competitions: I would really like to shoot 590/600 points. It is a nice number!”
We wish Riccardo many nice numbers in the future!