A tearful Alessandra Perilli described San Marino as “a small country but very proud” after the shooter won its first Olympic medal ever with bronze in Tokyo.
With a population of about 34,000, the independent micro-state surrounded by Italy is the smallest Olympic member to bag a Games medal.
The 33-year-old Perilli is the woman who made history for San Marino, whose first Games was back in 1960, after she finished third in the trap final.
“I am very proud because we worked to get here,” said Perilli, who wept tears of joy after receiving her bronze.
Perilli, who was born in the Italian city of Rimini but became a citizen of San Marino at 18, was already San Marino’s most successful Olympian with her fourth-placed finish at the London 2012 Games.
“In London we got near the medal, but not on the podium. Now we have reached the podium,” she said.
“This is not my first Olympics but this is the first medal for me and for my country.
“We are a small country but very proud.”
Perilli said that she expects wild celebrations back home in San Marino, which has four other athletes in Tokyo and is better known for its tourism industry than its sporting prowess.
“They are for sure going crazy, crying,” she said.
On Tuesday, Flora Duffy won the women’s triathlon for Bermuda, making the island the smallest territory or nation in terms of population ever to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.