From 49th at worlds to golden finish

ATHENS, Greece -- Marco Galiazzo won the gold medal in
archery Thursday, becoming Italy's first Olympic champion in the
sport. Japan's Hiroshi Yamamoto won the silver and Tim Cuddihy of
Australia took the bronze.

It was a surprise victory for the 21-year-old Galiazzo, who
finished 49th at last year's world championships. He defeated
Yamamoto 111-109.

"It was a great achievement to be the first Italian archer in
history to win a gold medal," Galiazzo said. It is great for me
and my country and I hope we can have the same success in the team
competition," which gets underway Friday.

Galiazzo said he tries to keep his mind on his specialty nearly
all the time.

"As an archer, you have to make some sacrifices. I can't go for
a short weekend with my friends because I have to keep on
practicing," he said.

Cuddihy, who's just 17, set a 36-arrow mark of 340 over three
rounds on his way to the bronze medal and beat South Koreans Jang
Yong-ho and Park Kyung-mo by single points on his final arrow.

"It's the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am very
happy," Cuddihy said.

Park set an 18-arrow record of 173 in the round of 16. Cuddihy
set a 36-arrow mark of 340 over three rounds on his way to the
bronze medal.

He beat the record of 339 set hours before by Szu Yuan Chen of
Taiwan, only to lose to veteran Yamamoto in the semifinal. Yamamoto
knocked out Korea's top seed Im Dong-hyun in the quarterfinal
before equaling the Olympic 12-arrow record in beating Cuddihy.