This Is Now the Tiniest Country to Ever Medal

Alessandra Perilli earns bronze in trap shooting for San Marino
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2021 9:02 AM CDT
Country With 35K Residents Wins Its First Medal
Bronze medalist Alessandra Perilli, of San Marino, celebrates after the women's trap at the Asaka Shooting Range in the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Twenty-fifth time’s the charm for San Marino, the European enclave surrounded by north-central Italy, home to fewer than 35,000 people, which was awarded its first-ever Olympic medal on Thursday. Alessandra Perilli shot 29 targets in the women's trap shooting final, coming in third after Kayle Browning of the United States, who took home silver, and Zuzana Stefecekova of Slovakia, who earned gold with an Olympic record of 43 hit targets, per WNBC. It was redemption for 33-year-old Perilli, who almost nabbed a medal in the same event at the 2012 London Games. She initially finished in a three-way tie for second but missed out on a podium position following a shoot-out. Her fourth-place position then was still the country’s best-ever Olympic result.

San Marino has sent athletes to the Olympics 25 times since first competing in the 1960 Games in Rome, per WNBC. It is now the least populous country to ever win an Olympic medal. Yahoo Sports notes its population is "smaller than the student body of Iowa State University," while its land area is "less than one fiftieth the area of Rhode Island." Bermuda, the Philippines, and Turkmenistan also saw their first Olympic medals in Tokyo. "I think I've entered the history of Turkmenistan by winning a medal," 21-year-old Polina Guryeva said Tuesday after earning silver in the women's 59kg weightlifting competition, per ESPN. "I'm so in shock." It was just the seventh time the Central Asian country had competed as an independent nation. (Bermuda is now the smallest country by population to win gold at a Summer Olympics.)

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