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Video - Huynh wins 48g wrestling gold
Carol Huynh ended Canada's medal drought with victory in the women's wrestling 48kg category in Beijing.
Huynh beat Japan's world champion Chiharu Icho by taking the two periods with a 6-1 points advantage.
The bronze medals went to Athens champion Irini Merleni of Ukraine and Maryiya Stadnik of Azerbaijian.
Canada's failure to win a medal of any colour in the first week of the Games provoked widespread criticism in the Canadian media.
"We're getting beaten by Togo," said an editorial in the National Post, a Canadian daily newspaper.
"A country as young, prosperous, healthy and intelligent as Canada should be doing better," the paper added.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has even had to field questions about the national Olympic team's underperformance, pledging to remain "optimistic" as the Games enters its second week.
Calgary-based Huynh's gold medal is an unexpected bonus for a nation whose pundits had expected her to claim a bronze medal at best.
Hyunh's parents fled Communist Vietnam in the 1970s, and the gold medallist paid tribute to her mother and father following her win.
It's very special to them to be here and see such an accomplishment and to see me reach my dream. And right in front of their eyes," said Huynh.
"I was the first in the family to be born in Canada. My parents are both very hard-working."
Canada's Tonya Vebeek later won bronze in the 55kg category to give the country two medals from women's wrestling.