The Hamelin family of Canada got the Olympic short track speedskating competition off to a winning start.
Charles Hamelin skated clear of the chaos that makes short track so unpredictable, winning the 1,500 meters Monday for his third Olympic title.
At 29, Hamelin was the oldest skater in the final. The wily veteran maintained a top-three position throughout most of the 14-lap race, leaving enough at the end to defeat a loaded field.
"He deserves it," American J.R. Celski said. "He went out there and raced his (rear) off."
Celski, the 2010 bronze medalist from Federal Way, Wash., finished fourth.
Late in the race, surprise finalist Jack Whelbourne of Britain crashed, affecting the momentum of Celski, who was close by.
"The last time, I was the (beneficiary). I won the bronze because of a lot of falls," Celski said about his 1,500 result in Vancouver. "It happens to everybody. Sometimes you're on the good side of it. Sometimes you're on the bad side."
Hamelin raised his arms in triumph after crossing the finish line at the Iceberg Skating Palace. He pumped his right arm through the turn and went hard into the pads to first embrace his coach and then his father, Yves Hamelin, the team leader for Canada.
"It's so many emotions," Hamelin said. "I have put so much work into it."
Hamelin will have two more chances to win individual gold in the 500 and 1,000, and he'll be part of Canada's team in the 5,000 relay.
Han Tianyu of China took silver. Viktor Ahn of Russia earned the bronze, giving his adopted country its first-ever short track medal.
Ahn stepped on the medals podium to wild cheers from the mostly Russian crowd. He was a three-time gold medalist for his native South Korea, but after missing the Vancouver Games four years ago because of a career-threatening injury, he changed his name and became a Russian citizen. He was known as Ahn Hyun-soo when he won gold in the 1,500 at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Ahn became the second Winter Olympian to win medals for two countries.
Emily Scott of Springfield, Mo., was the lone American to qualify for the women's 500 semis.
Ice hockey: The U.S. women routed Switzerland 9-0 to all but clinch a spot in the semifinals. With a 2-0 record, the U.S. is in position for a spot in the medal round regardless of what happens Wednesday in the game against Canada, the marquee matchup of the round-robin.
Canada topped Finland 3-0 to ensure its spot in the semifinals.
The Americans got scores from Monique Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel in a 55-second span in the first period. It was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, with the last two coming just eight seconds apart.
Speedskating: Michel Mulder led another sweep by the Netherlands at Adler Arena, edging teammate Jan Smeekens by 12-thousandths of a second to take gold in the men's 500 meters. Mulder's identical twin brother, Ronald, got the bronze.
"It is a dream, of course, to come here, me and my twin brother," Michel Mulder said. "It would be the perfect scenario to be 1-2, but together on the podium is amazing."
It was the first gold medal ever in the men's 500 for the Netherlands.
Shani Davis of the U.S. finished 24th in the 40-skater field. He views the race as primarily a tuneup for his 1,000-meter three-peat attempt and the quest to become the first male speedskater to win gold medals in three Olympics.
American Mitchell Whitmore placed 27th. He had hoped to be in medal contention after posting four top 10 finishes in the 500 on this season's World Cup circuit.
Curling: The Norwegian men, curling's fashion kings of cool, made their Sochi debut with another snazzy pattern on their pants -- a mixture of red, white, blue and gray squares and rectangles. Norway dazzled the U.S. 7-4, but the surprise of opening day was Switzerland's upset of defending champion Canada. On the women's side, Sweden defeated Britain 6-4 in a matchup of two favorites for the women's gold.
Women's luge: Erin Hamlin -- vying to be the first American to win a singles luge medal at the Olympics -- was second after the first heat, then slipped to third after her second trip down the Sanki Sliding Center track.
Germany's Natalie Geisenberger closed in on what appears to be an inevitable gold medal, finishing the first two runs in 1 minute, 39.814 seconds. That's 0.766 seconds better than her countrywoman Tatjana Huefner, who took the title at the Vancouver Games.
Men's moguls: Alex Bilodeau became the Olympics' first repeat winner in men's moguls. Canadian teammate Mikael Kingsbury won the silver, giving the Canadians a 1-2 finish in both men's and women's moguls.
Biathlon: Martin Fourcade's win in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit earned France its first medal. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway finished fourth, missing out on a record 13th Winter Olympic medal.
MCT Information Services contributed to this report.