ATLANTA (AP) _ Renata Mauer of Poland captured the first gold medal at the 1996 Olympics today, wiping out a seemingly insurmountable lead by Germany's Petra Horneber on the final shot of the women's 10-meter air rifle.

Horneber took the silver and Aleksandra Ivosev of Yugoslavia the bronze.

Horneber set an Olympic record in the 40-shot preliminary round with a score of 397 points, and held a 1.7-point lead over Mauer with one shot remaining in the 10-shot finals.

But Horneber's final pellet didn't come close to the bullseye and she scored an 8.8, her lowest of the competition.

Mauer's final shot of 10.5 _ 10.9 is a perfect shot _ vaulted her to the gold, two-tenths of a point ahead of Horneber.

Mauer finished with an overall score of 497.6 points. Horneber scored 497.4 and Ivosev 497.2.

The two Americans in the field, Elizabeth Bourland of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Nancy Nopolski of Downers Grove, Ill., failed to qualify for the finals. Bourland was 13th after the preliminary round, missing the finals by a single point. Nopolski finished in a tie for 36th.