Cyprus Earns First Ever Olympic Medal, China Adds To Gold Tally In Sailing

A pair of sailing medals and one in shooting have been given out in early competition Monday, resulting in a bronze for the United States and the first medal not just in London, but in Olympic history for the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus.

The sailing events took place in the Laser competition, named after the style of one-person dinghy, and unfortunately not the ability of the boats to shoot beams of light at other boats. On the men's side, gold and silver were pretty much already locked up, as Australia's Tom Slingsby had a commanding lead on points through the first 10 races and was able to place ninth in the medal race and still win gold, while Cyprus' Pavlos Kontides couldn't catch up to Slingsby but was in no danger of finishing lower than second. He earned silver, making him the first Cypriot to earn a medal at the Olympics.

In the women's competition, the events of the final race very much had a stake in determining the medal results: China's Xu Lijia, Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands, and Belgium's Evi van Acker placed first, second and third and also placed in that order on the medal podium. China's gold puts them three ahead of the United States in the medal count.

Segueing from the water to the gun range, America's Matthew Emmons had a shot at silver in the men's 50m rifle 3 position final, but his final shot of the competition was a brutally low 7.6. (His previous lowest shot had been a 9.2). He ended up 1.3 points away from silver, where even a mediocre shot could have earned him a step up on the podium. His poor final shot didn't cost him a chance at a gold though -- Italy's Niccolo Campriani set an Olympic record by scoring an 1180 in qualifying and blew away the competition, winning by six points.

Here's the medals in those three events:

Sailing - Men's laser

Gold:Tom Slingsby, Australia

Silver: Pavlos Kontides, Cyprus

Bronze: Rasmus Myrgren, Sweden

Sailing - Women's laser radial

Gold: Xu Lijia, China

Silver: Marit Bouwmeester, Netherlands

Bronze: Evi van Acker, Belgium

Shooting - Men's 50m rifle, three positions

Gold: Niccolo Campriani, Italy

Silver: Kim Jonghyun, South Korea

Bronze: Matthew Emmons, United States

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub.

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