Cyprus celebrates first Olympic medal as Kontides claims silver
Cypriot sailor Pavlos Kontides made history on Monday as he won his country’s first-ever Olympic medal by claiming silver in the men’s laser class at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 22-year-old entered the medal race with a chance of winning gold, but Australia’s five-time world champion Tom Slingsby – who had led the regatta from start to finish – managed to stay ahead of Kontides over the Nothe course in Weymouth and secure the Olympic title.
Kontides, who is also an Olympic Solidarity scholarship holder, was delighted to have secured Cyprus’ first-ever Olympic medal.
"It is really amazing,” he said. “For me and my country, it is a historic day. I suspect my name will be written in golden letters in Cyprus. I still don't realise what I have done for myself and when I return to my country on Thursday and people are cheering for me I will start to realise the level of achievement."
Cyprus first competed at the Games in 1980 and Kontides predicted that the country would be proud of his success: "When I get back home there will be huge celebrations because this is a huge achievement for my country, the first-ever Olympic medal,” he said. “When I have the medal over my neck and I am back home with my compatriots, then I will really understand what's going on. I hadn't really seen it because I didn't allow myself to be emotional, just focused."