At the moment, Christian Reitz can best be reached at the wheel.

Around the past weekend alone, the 34-year-old sports shooter covered 1200 kilometers from his place of residence in Regensburg, first to compete in a Bundesliga competition for SV Kriftel in northern Hesse and then, two days later, to take a course in Wiesbaden.

Long car journeys do not bother the Olympic champion with a rapid-fire pistol.

The patience and perseverance that characterize the model athlete at the shooting range also accompany him when unwinding kilometers of road.

Even for the trip to the World Cup final at the beginning of the month in the Polish city of Wroclaw, the Saxon native preferred the overland route. Because of the weapons, Reitz explains, flying requires more effort. Monotony and stiff legs did not harm his performance: For the first time in his career, Reitz won gold with the air pistol at the series highlight, after he could not be defeated with the rapid-fire weapon in 2011 and 2016. In addition there was bronze in mixed, together with his partner Celine Goberville from France, and a fourth place in his favorite discipline.

In addition to the impressive bonus of the equivalent of 13,000 euros, which was given to the best for the first time thanks to the generosity of the World Association President Vladimir Sergejewitsch Lissin, the Triumph Reitz gave satisfaction.

Even at the summer games in Tokyo, where he finished fifth twice, there were critics of his double start in singles.

Just taking part in the finals in his Olympic air pistol debut should have put these concerns aside, says the versatile talent.

Now the "Gemoser" should finally be silent.

"I'm dispassionate there"

The German did not let himself be irritated by the new mode that was tried out in Breslau. After winning the preliminary battle, in which he exceeded his own goal with 586 rings, a semi-final had to be survived for the first time in order to move into the final battle of the top four. The routine of preparation has to be adapted to this unfamiliar process, Reitz explains the difficulty. In the final, one shooter was eliminated after every five shots.

The new process should provide more excitement. But already during the competition it became known that the mode would be revised and it was not yet clear whether the shooters would have to be prepared for the 2024 Games in Paris, says Reitz. "As long as there is a fair final, I'm dispassionate," says the member of the international athletes' commission. Billionaire Lissin personally enforced the early test, which is why the 2021 World Cup final was named President's Cup.

The co-favorite accepts that Reitz missed out on his favorite discipline with the usual looseness. “The others were just a tad better in the final,” he says. “The shooting was unusually strong,” and a round with only two hits let the leading players fall back decisively. With 590 rings in the preliminary fight, it was still “a nice end” to the Olympic season.

After returning from Asia and the German championships at the end of August, the two-time national title holder took a ten-day holiday in Egypt with his wife and sports colleague Sandra before it went on almost seamlessly. The "wobbles" that attacked the Rio Olympic champion in Tokyo would not have changed anything in his overall concept. “I didn't do anything wrong,” says Reitz. “Perhaps you look a little more closely at every detail during preparation.” But the basics will be retained.

Planning the 2022 season is difficult.

The highlight should be the World Championships in Cairo in August.

But appointments are always postponed, and Reitz himself has to consider when and where he will focus on the balancing act between air pistol and rapid fire pistol.

He could not even focus on the European Championship for his second discipline in March, in order to prepare himself more carefully for the challenges with the automatic fire weapon.

Courses and competitions of the two branches overlap.

It is therefore an advantage for an individualist like Christian Reitz to enjoy being behind the wheel yourself.

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