UK Rifle Alum Henri Junghaenel Wins Olympic Gold
RIO DE JANEIRO – Kentucky rifle alumnus Henri Junghänel won the Olympic Gold Medal in 50-meter prone rifle on Friday.
The UK Class of 2013 alumnus broke the Olympic final record with a score of 209.5. He was the eighth and final qualifier into the final with a 624.8 in qualification.
“It’s overwhelming, especially after I missed the last Olympic Games by just a very little, so I already accomplished everything with standing here in the final," Junghänel told the International Shooting Sports Federation after the match. “I was really upset after the qualification because I did not shoot at my best. I made it into the final in last. So I tried to zero in and fight for a medal.
“During the medal match I started out really well even though I was quite shaky. Then the position loosened up a little bit and I had to fight to keep it together. Having won the pre-Olympic world cup held here in Rio earlier this year helped me a lot. I carried that experience into today’s match.
“I am a mechanical engineer, and I finished my master’s degree (started at Kentucky and completed in Germany) in July. After the Games I will be looking for a job. I really believe in the combination of sport, work and studies. That works well for me.”
He now holds the Olympic record and the world record in 50m prone finals. His world-record 50m prone final score is 211.2 points.
Junghänel, who graduated from UK with a degree in mechanical engineering, competed at his first Olympics. He was named 2013 ISSF Shooter of the Year.
“I am very excited for Henri,” Kentucky head coach Harry Mullins said. “He is a great person, and I could not be happier for him. This medal is well deserved for the work and effort that Henri has put into the sport over his shooting career.
“While at Kentucky he showed us the passion and drive that it takes to be a champion. It was a pleasure having him on our team for three years. He is both a fierce competitor and a great person. Seeing him on the podium achieving his dream is what makes being around these athletes better than anything else.
“Knowing how much it meant to him I had to keep my emotions in check during the final. The one thing I can keep coming back to is that I could not be more proud of Henri. It’s an honor to have been with him for a short time on his journey.”
Junghänel was Kentucky’s shooting-average leader in both guns during the 2010-11 NCAA Championship season. He was a four-time All-America selection at Kentucky.
For the latest on the Kentucky rifle team follow @UKRifle handles on Facebook and Twitter, and on the web at UKathletics.com.