Fehaid Al-Deehani of Kuwait became the first independent athlete in Olympics history to win gold, defeating Italy's Marco Innocenti in the men's double trap final match Wednesday. Al-Deehani's victory resulted in the unprecedented flying of the Olympic flag and playing of the Olympic anthem during the medal ceremony.
It left Al-Deehani with mixed emotions. The 49-year-old was forced to compete as an independent because Kuwait is under IOC suspension. According to NBC Olympics, Al-Deehani passed on the opportunity to be the IOA flag bearer, as he did not want to carry any flag other than that of his homeland.
"I am a military man and I will only carry the Kuwait flag," Al-Deehani said.
In 2000 and 2012, he won bronze in double and single trap, respectively. Al-Deehani's 2000 bronze medal was the first time a Kuwaiti athlete won an Olympic medal.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 10, 2016
The IOC suspended Kuwait because of legislation that allowed the government to meddle in elections of national sports federations.
While Al-Deehani's victory was not technically for Kuwait, the nation can smile knowing that a proud Kuwaiti won Olympic gold. Al-Deehani is Kuwait's only medalist in Olympic history.
Al-Deehani is also the fourth IOA medalist. In 1992, Jasna Sekaric, Aranka Binder and Stevan Pletikosic all won IOA medals after Yugoslavia faced United Nations sanctions. Like Al-Deehani's, all three Yugoslav medals (one silver, two bronze) were in shooting.
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