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Video - Katerina Emmons is the first gold medal winner of the 2008 Olympics
Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic had the honour of winning the first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics in the women's 10m air rifle event.
Lioubov Galkina of Russia claimed the silver, and Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia took bronze.
There was disappointment for the home fans as China's defending champion Du Li failed to get amongst the medals.
Emmons capped her win by setting an Olympic record of 503.5 points, after shooting a perfect 400 in qualifying.
The 24-year-old Czech wife of American shooter Matt Emmons shot a near flawless 103.5 in the final to take the gold.
She revealed afterwards how she overcame nerves and a splitting headache to become Olympic champion.
"Thank God it's over because I was so nervous," she said.
"I had a headache this morning. I felt so terrible that I did not know how I would shoot.
"So to win the first gold medal of this Olympics is pretty amazing."
Emmons' win at the the Beijing Shooting Range Hall marks a big improvement on four years ago, where she finished with bronze behind Li and Galkina.
Russian shooter Galkina finished just a point behind the champion to claim silver once more.
Li, who fled the hall in tears, blamed the pressure of competing at home for her failure in the competition saying, "she wasn't fully prepared for the pressure of competing at home".
BBC reporter Eleanor Oldroyd was covering the event and explained: "She’d already talked about the problem of performing in front of her home fans.
"In competitions overseas she wasn’t put off by the chatter of the crowd, because she couldn’t understand what they were saying – but in China, she could."
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge was among the crowd of 5,000 to present the first medals of the Games.