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Latest update: 08/06/2009 18:18 +0300

Iceland Wins Sole Olympic Medal Amongst Small States of Europe:

BEIJING, 24 August 2008 - Iceland won the silver medal in men's Handball on the very last day of the XXIX Olympic Games Beijing 2008, after losing to France 28-23 in the final.

Although Handball does not feature on the programme of the Games of the Small States of Europe, this was the only medal by any of the eight small states of Europe eligible to participate in the XIII GSSE CYPRUS 2009.

Two other close calls at Beijing had failed to result in medals for small states of Europe.

In Shooting, Antonis Nikoalidis of Cyprus finished fourth in the men's Skeet competition , following a shoot-off for bronze with France's Anthony Terras. Giorgos Achilleos, also of Cyprus, finished a close fifth in the final rankings of men's Skeet.

In Cycling, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck forged the winning breakaway with a late-race attack on the final uphill of the men's Road Race, but the tall climber did not have the best sprinting legs and was forced to settle for fifth.

Sunday's was the fourth medal overall for Iceland in the Olympic Games since the nordic country's first participation back in 1908. Iceland had previously won a silver in the men's Triple Jump with Vilhjalmur Einarsson in 1956 and bronze in men's Judo with Bjarni Fridriksson in 1984, and women's Pole Vault with Vala Flosadottir in 2000.

Apart from Iceland, Luxembourg is the only other small state of Europe to have won an Olympic medal in Summer Games. In 1952 Josy Barthel set an Olympic record of 3:45.1 in the 1500m. to clinch first place in the race. Earlier, Joseph Alzin had won a weightlifting silver in 1920 in Antwerp, to become Luxembourg's first ever Olympic medallist.

Michel Theato, competing for France at the 1900 Olympic Games and winner of the gold medal in the Martathon, was later discovered to be actually Luxembourgish. However, his gold medal is still credited to France by the International Olympic Committee.

The sole Cypriot athlete to have won an Olympic medal is Ioannins Phrangoudis, who clinched a gold, a silver and a bronze in Shooting at the 1896 Games. However, Cypriots at the time were competing under the Greek flag and his medals are credited to Greece.

In Winter Olympic Games Liechtenstein boasts nine medals and Luxembourg has won two.

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