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Competition Opens with Gold Medals at Beijing Olympics


Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic has won the first gold of the Beijing Olympic Games Saturday when she won the Women's 10m Air Rifle event. VOA's Jim Stevenson has more on the her event and other early winners on the first full day of competition at the Beijing Olympics.

The 24-year-old Emmons broke Olympic records in both the qualification and final rounds. She shot a perfect score of 400, which equaled the World Record and set a new Olympic Record. The previous Olympic Record was 399.

In the final round, Emmons shot 103.5. That pushed her final score 503.5, which eclipsed the previous record of 502 set by Du Li of China at Athens 2004.

The gold medal is Emmons' second Olympic medal, following her bronze at Athens 2004 in the same event. She is married to U.S. shooter Matt Emmons, a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Lioubov Galkina of Russia placed second (502.1) while Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia took the bronze (500.9).

Shooter Pang Wei claimed host China's first gold medal by winning the men's 10-meter air pistol final. The 22-year-old Pang cruised to victory with a wide margin of three-point-seven points.

China picked up a second gold medal when Chen Xiexia hoisted the most in the women's 48-kilogram category of weightlifting.

Three American women swept the fencing medals podium in the individual sabre event. Mariel Zagunas won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal after her victory four years ago in Athens. "We could not have asked for a better result today, three American flags being raised on the first day of the fencing event. So I am just really, really proud and really happy," she said.

Samuel Sanchez won the men's cycling road race with a time of six hours, 23 minutes, 49 seconds. Italian Davide Rebellin placed second followed by Fabien Cancellara of Switzerland.

In judo, Alina Alexandra Dumitru of Romania took the women's 48-kilogram gold medal. The men's 60-kilogram title went to Choi Minho of South Korea.

On his first swim in the pool, American Michael Phelps broke his own Olympic record in the 400-meter individual medley at the National Aquatics Center with a time of four minutes, seven-point-eight-two seconds. Phelps will swim in the event final early Sunday, the first in his bid for an unprecedented eight gold medals at a single Olympics.

And Phelps knows who is in his way. "It is really everybody. My goal is just to be as prepared as I can be. And if I am, then I will be satisfied," he said.

The U.S. women's football (soccer) team rebounded from an opening loss by scoring a 1-0 win over Japan in first round play.

The first full day of competition was marred by the murder of the father-in-law of a U.S. men's volleyball coach. Following the attack in Beijing, the assailant took his own life. The team begins competition later Sunday.

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