Zhang Shan of China won the gold medal Tuesday in skeet shooting, becoming the first woman to win top honors in open Olympic shooting competition. And unless the International Shooting Union has a change of heart, no other woman will win another Olympic skeet shooting medal because the federation has decided to drop women from competition after this year.
Zhang, 24, a student living in Sichuan, shot a perfect score through the semifinals, breaking 200 targets for an Olympic record and tying the world mark. She broke 23 of 25 targets in the final round for a 223 total score.
"As a woman shooter, to get first place means greater courage for women of China," Zhang said.
In 1976, Americans Margaret Murdock and Lanny Bassham tied for the gold medal in small-bore rifle--three positions, but Bassham was awarded the medal in a tiebreaker ruling.
Matt Dryke of Sumner, Wash., who won the gold medal in skeet in 1984, was tied for second after six rounds but finished sixth. He scored 221 after hitting 198 of 200 and 23 of 25. Dryke returned to competition in 1991 after serving a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine.
Juan Jorge Giha Yarur of Peru won the silver in a shoot-off with Bruno Rossetti of Italy and Ioan Toman of Romania. Rossetti took the bronze. All three tied at 222.
Zhang's victory spawned speculation that the shooting union might reconsider its recent decision to eliminate women from Olympic skeet.
"I hope this influences the (union) to take a second look at its decision," said Lloyd Woodhouse, U.S. shotgun coach. "This might change their mind. Why can't women shoot in the open class?"
China also won the gold medal in the men's air pistol, Wang Yifu winning with a 684.8 score.
Cuba, Italy Remain Undefeated With Sweeps in Preliminaries
Cuba and Italy, considered the countries with the best chances of ruining the U.S. men's hopes for a three-peat, each won second preliminary-round matches with 3-0 shutouts to remain undefeated. Cuba (Pool B) beat Algeria, and Italy (Pool A) defeated Spain.
Undefeated Brazil also won, defeating the Commonwealth of Independent States, 3-1, to remain tied with Cuba at the top of Pool B.
In the other games, France beat Japan, 3-2, and the Netherlands shut out South Korea, 3-0.
Manhattan Beach's Jogis Makes U.S. Debut Worthy of a Toast
Chris Jogis of Manhattan Beach, a six-time men's national champion whose serve has been timed at 140 m.p.h., defeated Dean Galt of New Zealand, 15-1, 15-3, in the first round to make the U.S. debut in Olympic badminton a successful one.
"My goal has always been to be the first American to play in the Olympics and by the luck of the draw I was the first one here to compete," Jogis said. "Anything else I do here is a bonus."
Badminton, making its debut in Barcelona, toasted its entry into the Olympics with champagne. After Erica van den Heuvel of the Netherlands and Hungary's Andrea Dako finished the first match at the Pavello de la Mar Bella, the two women were presented bottles of champagne by the International Badminton Federation's president, Arthur Jones.
In women's singles, Denyse Julien of Canada eliminated Erika Von Heiland of Anaheim, 11-2, 11-0.
Germany's Baumann Holds Lead Over 2 Britons After Dressage
Matthias Baumann of Germany held the lead over two British riders after the dressage portion of the three-day event.
Seven-time Olympian Michael Plumb of Hamilton, Mass., is the top American, in eighth place. Plumb, 52, scored 472 points riding Adonis.
Baumann, riding Alabaster, has 501 points, two more than second-place Ian Stark of Britain. Karen Dixon of Britain is third.
Britain, paced by Stark and Dixon, holds the lead in the team standings with 136.80 points, followed by Germany and France. The U.S. is seventh.
U.S. Men's, Women's Teams Falter in Doubles Openers
The U.S. men's and women's doubles teams both dropped first-round matches.
Kim Jin Myong and Kim Song Hui of North Korea defeated Jim Butler of Iowa City, Iowa, and Sean O'Neill of McLean, Va., 21-19, 23-21. The match was close throughout but the Americans made several mistakes, hitting into the net.
Emanuelle Coubat and Wang Xiaoming of France defeated Diana Gee of San Carlos, Calif., and Lily Hugh of Metuchen, N.J., 21-14, 21-9.
Gee said she and her teammate were overly excited about their Olympic opener.
(Men's air pistol)
GOLD: Wang Yifu, (China)
SILVER: Serguei Pyjianov (CIS)
BRONZE: Sorin Babii (Romania)
(Skeet, clay targets)
GOLD: Zhang Shan (China)
SILVER: Juan Jorge Giha Yarur (Peru)
BRONZE: Bruno Rossetti (Italy)