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Skinner claims shock shooting gold

AAP logoAAP 7/08/2016 By Paul Mulvey

You know you're having a good Olympics when you win gold you don't expect.

Nerveless shooter Catherine Skinner's shock gold medal on Sunday continued Australia's positive start to the Rio Games but total redemption escaped James Magnussen as the men's relay swimmers took bronze.

A far cry from the "weapons of mass destruction" hype that preceded his downfall in London four years ago, Magnussen was content with bronze after a low-key preparation for Rio.

The relay swimmers went about their business quietly, he said, with "no weapons of mass anything, missiles, rockets or any of the other paraphernalia."

But with a weapon in her hand, Skinner stunned herself as much as anyone else.

Needing to hit her last target of the competition to clinch gold, she stood frozen in stunned silence after her shot shattered the disc in a puff of pink dust.

She'd held her nerve like never before to claim her first international title and Australia's third gold for the Games after two days of competition.

"I've been there before where I have fallen to pieces ... I just tried to remember to breathe," the Games debutante said.

"It was such a big shock and the realisation of it still hasn't hit."

The 26-year-old chemical engineer held the pieces together throughout the day under intense pressure.

She needed a shootout to reach the semi-final and then missed two early shots in the final before clawing her way back to beat New Zealand's Natalie Rooney by one shot.

Synchronised divers Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith also claimed bronze on Sunday as Australia slipped from first to third on the medals table with three gold and three bronze.

After failing to win a medal as hot favourites in London 2012, the men's 4x100m relay team came into the Rio final as underdogs.

And a bronze to Magnussen, James Roberts, Kyle Chalmers and Cam McEvoy is probably the right result behind the might of the US and France.

Once the world's fastest swimmer and a supposed certainty to win two Olympic gold medals in 2012, Magnussen says he's surpassed his ambitions and is satisfied with a career haul of a silver and two bronze.

"I'm happy just to be here," he said.

"If I never get an Olympic gold medal, I can live with myself knowing I've given everything I can."

If Magnussen is content with his three minor medals, American Michael Phelps just continues to be greedy.

Phelps won his 19th gold medal as part of the US team which held out France in the thrilling relay.

Another US gold in the pool on Sunday night to Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle took the Americans to the top of the medal table also with three gold, but with five silver and four bronze.

China is second on three gold, two silver and two bronze.

Australia's team sports continue to provide hope for more medals, with the world No.1 women's rugby team cruising into Monday's semi-finals with a 24-0 win over Spain on Sunday, while Australia downed Turkey 61-56 in women's basketball.

Canoe slalom world No.4 Lucien Delfour crashed out of the K1 but countryman Ian Borrows earned a spot in the semis.

Samantha Stosur made a winning start in the women's singles at the tennis, beating Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, but Daria Gavrilova lost to world No.1 Serena Williams.

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