After the first world records fell hours before the opening ceremony, the first gold medals followed and China was the first to secure one. For more than two weeks, over 200 countries will compete in this major event and the Asian power is trying to best the United States, Russia and Great Britain. These are the countries that are considered to have the best chance of pilling up gold medals, so it is only fair to say that they are the nations that China has to outshine.
Yi Siling breaks the ice
The 23 year old athlete is widely regarded as the best in the 10m Air Rifle and the fact that she secured the first gold medal for China is not surprising. Being the first medal made of this precious metal to be awarded at the 2012 London Olympics bears a special meaning and emotion overwhelmed Siling. Victory didn’t come easy and Yi had to outduel Poland’s Sylwia Bogacka who earned the best results in the qualifying round. It was the Chinese athlete who prevailed in the finals, despite trailing for more than seven shots and so her country took an early lead.
Swimming was the competition where American athletes were regarded as favorites, with names such as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte ringing more familiar than Ye Shiwen or Sun Yang. Nevertheless, they beat the odds and both took home gold medals, something that it is particularly impressive given the fact that they are just 16 and 20 years old. Michael Phelps came in second in the Final of the Men’s 400m Individual Medley while his compatriot Ryan Lochte won the Olympic gold. China further extended its lead after Wang Mingjuam won the gold medal in the Women’s 48kg Weightlifting.
A powerful start for Italy
The Europeans are not among the favorites at the 2012 London Olympics but after day one, this country is the one who produced the most pleasant surprises. It was the Archery Team to spark the celebrations as they won a highly contested duel against the United States. The Italians won 219-218 and were awarded the first Team gold at the Games. Frangilli was the one to strike the decisive blow with one shot left, but the entire team made an important contribution and fully deserves this surprising success.
What Italy achieved in the Fencing competition is nothing short of spectacular, as all three medals were won by athletes from this country. It was an all-Italian duel and in the end Elisa Di Francisca was the one to climb to the top, following a breathtaking final with Arianna Errigo. Vezzali came in third, but her achievement is nothing to frown upon, especially with Valentina having won 3 consecutive gold medals.