Hoang Xuan Vinh wins gold metal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
The 2016 Rio Olympic officially started today and Vietnam won their first ever gold metal in the air pistol shooting. Hoang Xuan Vinh, Vietnam’s Olympic athlete, ended Vietnam’s 64 years competing in the Olympic Games without a gold metal. Now the nation has its first gold medal thanks to Hoàng Xuan Vinh, who won the men’s 10 meter air pistol on Saturday, August 6, 2016.
Vinh, the 41 years old military officer, last competed in 2012 in a London Olympics that ended in heartbreak. Hoàng failed to make the finals by a single point and finished 9th in the 10 meter air pistol. This was followed by a crushing fourth place finish in the 50 meter air pistol that saw bronze escape him by just 0.1 points.
Vinh was locked in tight duel with Sao Paulo-born Felipe Almeida Wu who had taken the lead after the penultimate round. The pair traded shots that were near-indistinguishable when they struck the target, but Hoàng ultimately held off his nearest competitor by just 0.4 points.
Hoàng’s total overall score of 202.5 set a new Olympic record due to a new scoring system being adopted following the 2012 London Olympics.
For Vietnam’s first gold metal, Hoang Xuan Vinh might also receive $5,000, with the possibility of more money, allegedly offer by the Vietnam government as an incentive for their athletes to win Olympic gold.
Vietnam and the Olympics
Vietnam made its Olympic debut in 1952 as the State of Vietnam. After the Partition of Vietnam in 1954, only South Vietnam competed in the Games, sending athletes to the 1956 and 1972 Olympics. Since the reunification of Vietnam in 1976, they have competed as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, attending every Olympics from 1980 onwards. The present Vietnam Olympic Committee was formed in 1976 and recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1979. Vietnam has never competed in the Winter Olympics, but will begin in 2014. [Source: Wikipedia]
Tran Hieu Ngan took Vietnam’s first ever Olympic medal when she won a silver in women’s 57 kilogram tae kwon do event at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Before that Vietnam’s best showing was a wrestler who made it to the quarter finals at the boycotted Olympics in Moscow in 1980.
In 2008 in Beijing, Hoàng Anh Tuan won a silver medal in the men’s 56 kilogram weightlifting event. Hoàng Anh Tua was just two kilograms behind the winner Long Qingquan from China who lifted 292 kilograms.
The 1996 Vietnamese summer Olympic team in Atlanta consisted of six athletes (two runners, two swimmers, one pistol shooter and one judo participant). The team had difficulty raising money for the $2,000 a head plane ticket and almost didn’t make.
Medals per capita at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing: 1 per 85,262,356 in 2008. Of countries that got a medal only India did worse. At Beijing in 2008, gymnast Thi Ngan Thuong Do, who finished in last place in the women’s floor exercise, tested positive for the diuretic furosemide. Arne Ljungqvist, who was involved with the drug testing, said he believed the Vietnamese gymnast inadvertently used furosemide, a common drug. “My interpretation is this was probably the result of poor information given to the athlete, who did not have the knowledge of what to avoid and what she was allowed to take,” he said. IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies Do Thi Ngan Thuong was kicked out of the games and had their accreditations revoked. Furosemide is a diuretic popular for shedding water weight, but also can used as a masking agent to flush other banned substances from the body.