TOKYO — San Marino waited 61 years for its first Olympic medal, which arrived on Thursday. Then he waited two days for the next.
San Marino isn’t nearly an athletic powerhouse. Sports fans know him mostly for entering the European football qualifiers, where he almost always loses by scores like 9-0.
But now San Marino has a positive sports distinction. With a population of approximately 30,000, it is the smallest country to win an Olympic medal, surpassing Bermuda (population 70,000).
San Marino first competed in the Olympics in 1960, when a group of nine athletes in cycling, shooting and wrestling did not pass 16th place.
In 2012, it looked like the tiny earth had finally struck silver or bronze. In the women’s trap shots, Alessandra Perilli finished second with a triple draw. Unfortunately, he lost in one shot, and therefore finished fourth in the worst of all Olympic positions.
Perilli didn’t win a medal in 2016, but this year she’s back. On Thursday, the trap shot made it to the final once again, but this time he hit enough targets for a bronze medal, a first for his country.
“During the final, when the fifth shooter comes out, I don’t want to be fourth again, so I have to do it,” I thought. “This is the first medal for me and my country. We are a small country, but we are very proud.”
On Saturday, Perilli was joined by fellow countryman Gian Marco Berti for the first mixed-gender trap shooting team competition. The duo did well once again, taking silver behind Spain.
Berti is both a lawyer and a hitman. When asked about his colleagues’ possible reaction, he replied, “Lawyers are jealous people, so they probably won’t say anything about it.”