San Marino becomes the smallest country with an Olympic medal

San Marino, a country of 34,000 inhabitants located in Italy, this Thursday became the nation with the lowest population in the world to win an Olympic medal thanks to the shooter Alessandra Perilli, bronze in the Olympic pit modality. Perilli was third with 29 hits in the final, behind the 42 of the American Kayle Browning, silver, and the 43 of the Slovak Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková, gold.

The shooter, born in Rimini (Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy) competes for San Marino, her mother’s country of origin, and achieved this milestone in the history of San Marinese sport in the closing stages of the final, after climbing to the third step on the podium after some mistakes by Australian Laetisha Scanlan. With this bronze, San Marino goes down in history as the least populated country with an Olympic medal, surpassing Bermuda, with 63,000 inhabitants, which won a triathlon gold in these same Tokyo 2020 Games and for whom the record has lasted a few days.

The European micronation sent to Tokyo a delegation of five athletes in four different disciplines, a small Olympic team of which the swimmer Arianna Valloni and the wrestling wrestler Myles Amine were the standard bearers at the opening gala. The San Marino delegation in the Japanese capital is completed by judoka Paolo Persoglia and shooter Gian Marco Berti, who no longer have options in the men’s Olympic pit, but who will compete, along with Perilli, in the mixed Olympic pit category.

San Marino’s first participation in an Olympic Games dates back to Roma 1960 and his debut in a Winter Games was in Innsbruck 1976. The largest San Marino expeditions took place in the 1980s, when 16 athletes were sent to Moscow 1980, 19 to Los Angeles 1984, 12 to Seoul 1988 and 15 to Barcelona 1992. However, from Sydney 2000 to Tokyo 2020, all the Olympic teams San Marino had only four or five athletes.

Sports shooting, national pride

Sports shooting, a discipline in which they have premiered their medal table, is one of those that has brought the most joy to the small country of Mount Titano, and from Beijing 2008 to Rio 2016 the flag bearers of San Marino have always been shooters. Arianna Perilli, Alessandra’s sister, was already flagged in Rio 2016 after winning a silver medal in the Olympic pit at the 2015 Baku European Games, in addition to having three golds in European championships and one silver in world championships. Other shooters such as Stefano Selva, Manuel Mancini, Francesco Amici, have also won medals at world championships.

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In soccer, the most popular sport in the country, the San Marino team currently occupies the last position of the FIFA rankings, being the 210th team, just behind those of Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. The San Marino team has never won an official match since its debut with a 4-0 defeat against Switzerland in 1990. Throughout its history it has managed to chain more than 60 defeats in a row, it has drawn only six games in its history and only has one victory on their records: 1-0 against Liechtenstein in a 2004 friendly.

Another of the most relevant sports in the country is motorcycling, where the pilot stood out Alex De Angelis, with several podiums in the world championships. San Marino also hosted the San Marino Grand Prix that although it was held in the neighboring Italian city of Imola, it nominally took place in San Marino, the last country to join the historical medal table of the Olympic Games.

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