Switzerland have garnered silver and bronze medals in track cycling and beach volleyball, doubling the country’s tally at the Athens Olympics.This content was published on August 26, 2004 - 08:56
The two medals come after fencer Marcel Fischer’s victory and cyclist Karin Thürig’s third place in the women’s time trial.
Cycling pair Franco Marvulli and Bruno Risi restored some respect for their country in the madison event by adding a third medal to the so far less than impressive tally.
The madison is a 200-lap team endurance race with ten intermediate sprints. Points are handed out according to position.
After a slow start, the duo began to make their presence felt at the halfway point and won the last three sprints to climb on to the podium. The final sprint was decisive for positions two and three, with Marvulli ensuring the 2003 world champions' silver finish.
Gold medal winners Australia, represented by Graeme Brown and Stuart O’Grady, were already in front at the halfway stage and gradually extended their lead, scoring points on most of the sprints.
The Australians also made sure no other challengers could get ahead again. They finished with 22 points, holding an edge of seven over speedy Switzerland.
Britain, despite a crash halfway through the race, took bronze with 12.
Risi, who was trying for the third time to win an Olympic medal, nearly didn't make it on to the track after crashing during training on Tuesday. He required overnight medical treatment but didn’t seem bothered by the pulled muscles he was pushing during the race.
To hell and back
Just one hour after the two Swiss cyclists took silver, the Swiss beach volleyball duo of Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel earned themselves a bronze.
The pair beat Julien Prosser and Mark Williams for third place in three tight sets (19-21, 21-17, 15-13).
The first two sets were hard-fought affairs, with neither team wishing to give ground. The Swiss took the advantage in the tiebreak, forcing the Australians to play catch-up.
Heuscher and Kobel took a decisive lead at 13-10 in the final set, finally closing out the game 15-13.
"We had some good and some bad moments," said Kobel after the match. "You could go from hell to paradise very quickly."
Kobel added that he was proud to be Swiss and to show that the Swiss were prepared to fight.
Ricardo Alex Santos and Emanuel Rego of Brazil, who beat the Swiss in the semi-finals, won the beach volleyball gold medal by defeating Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain in two sets (21-16, 21-15).
Switzerland’s medal tally now stands at four – one gold, one silver, and two bronze – with four days of competition remaining.
swissinfo with agencies
Risi and Marvulli's silver is Switzerland's first track cycling medal since Robert Dill-Bundi won gold at the Moscow Olympics in 1980.
Pascal Richard won the Olympic road race title in Atlanta in 1996.
Heuscher and Kobel's bronze is the first intercontinental medal for a Swiss duo in beach volleyball.
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