By not much more than the width of a hair, Italy defeated the U.S. to take the gold medal in archery at the 2012 Olympics on Saturday. The narrow 219-218 outcome does not even do justice to how close this one was.
The agonizing defeat means the U.S. archers earned the silver and the distinction of winning their country's first medal in London.
Italy led for the majority of this contest and took a lead into the final round of this competition, but the resilient Americans were not going to roll over. With the pressure mounting, the U.S. dialed in and closed it to the narrowest of gaps.
With each of the six total competitors preparing to take their final turn, the U.S. was in a position to capture the gold in the last moments as they trailed by just one point.
The first two American shooters recorded an eight and a 10. That left world No. 1 Brady Ellison to try and make it two tens.
Ellison, who had been outstanding on Saturday, barely missed the bulls-eye, and had to settle for a nine. This took some of the pressure off of Italy, but it didn't stay away for long.
By the time their final shooter, Michele Frangilli, was up, it was down to one point. The Italians needed a ten to win gold. A nine would've earned them a shootout, and anything less would find the Americans on the medal stand.
In what looked like a few fibers of paper, Italy got their gold by barely sliding the final shot into the bulls-eye, and the gold was theirs.
The U.S. had their chance late, but they just couldn't recapture the late magic they found in their comeback win over three-time defending archery gold medalist South Korea in the semifinals. In that one, the Americans used a stunning 59 out of 60 possible points in the final round to take a 224-219 win.
The result forced South Korea to the bronze medal match where they went onto beat Mexico 224-219.
You can view the full results from the men's archery competition here.
Men's Archery Medals
Bronze: South Korea