Archery: Italy strike gold
Updated: Monday, 30 Jul 2012 11:11
Italy claimed a shock gold in the men's archery team event at Lord’s as Michele Frangilli held his nerve to hit a 10 with the last arrow of the final against the United States.
Italy, who have never before won team gold at the Games, were nine behind with one shot remaining when Frangilli struck centre gold.
The dramatic 219-218 win for Frangilli, Mauro Nespoli and Marco Galiazzo against Brady Ellison, Jacob Wukie and Jake Kaminski capped a day of surprises in the competition, with favourites South Korea losing 224-219 to the USA in the semi-final.
The United States left with silver, while the Koreans saw off Mexico to take bronze.
Frangilli's heroics saw him complete a full set of medals in the team event, having picked up bronze in Atlanta in 1996 and silver in Sydney four years later.
Galiazzo also has a proud Olympic pedigree, winning individual gold in Athens eight years ago and team silver in Beijing.
But this was a day many expected to end in South Korean triumph.
Their trio of Im Dong-hyun, Kim Bubmin and Oh Jin-hyek had smashed the 216-arrow world record by 18 points in yesterday's ranking round and as a nation they have won five of the six team events since it was added to the schedule in 1988.
Yet, despite equalling the Olympic record of 227 in their last-eight win over Ukraine, they were off colour in the semi-final against the USA, who shot a stunning 59 from their last six arrows to win by a clear five points.
Their celebrations at that point - and the chants of "USA, USA" which rang around the home of cricket for what must be the first time - suggested they thought the toughest hurdle had been overcome.
Instead, Italy - who had beaten China and Mexico to earn their place in the gold medal match - shot nervelessly to take the glory.
Frangilli set the tone for Italy from the off, scoring maximums with his first two arrows as USA went two down after one end.
Italy's lead swelled to four points by the halfway mark, Galiazzo adding twin 10s of his own as the American team kept finding the nine.
Team USA improved in the final end as Kaminski and Wukie both struck centre gold and an eight from Galiazzo and the penultimate shot left all the pressure on Frangilli.
A nine would have forced a three-arrow shoot-out but the veteran's aim was true.
Although a disappointment, USA's silver still represented a first Olympic archery medal in 12 years.
Im, Kim and Oh made up for the own surprise defeat by easing past Mexico 224-219 in the bronze medal play-off.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine, Japan, China and France all bowed out in the last eight and hosts Great Britain lost in the first elimination match.