Canadian confidence was giving way to talk of an Olympic curse after the hosts failed to strike gold on the opening day of competition at the Games. The only country to have staged a Summer and Winter Olympics and never won a gold medal – Canada had looked to end the national embarrassment in short order with an opening day assault on the top of the podium.
But the gold drought extended into a third Olympics in the cruellest of fashions when American moguls skier Hannah Kearney snatched victory from home hope Jennifer Heil on Cypress Mountain
The hometown crowd had barely quietened down after Heil blazed down the foggy slope, when Kearney, skiing last, delivered the fastest time and top scores on turns and aerial manoeuvres to claim the first US gold of the Games. "I would have skied the same regardless, but I did know it was going to have to be the best run of my life – I couldn't ski conservatively to beat Jenn when she just got a score like that – and be in Canada," Kearney said.
Meanwhile, Lee Jung-su credited a change of strategy for his winning gold for Korea in the men's 1500m after the short track speed-skating programme got under way at Pacific Coliseum.
American Apolo Anton Ohno made history with his silver medal in the event but the night belonged to world No 1 Lee, who had set an Olympic record in both his heat and semi-final, lowering the mark to two minutes 10.949 seconds.
In a dramatic race, Lee had hit the front and with two laps to go compatriots Sung Si-bak and Lee Ho-suk were behind him, with a Korean clean sweep of the medals looking likely.
They were 1-2-3 heading into the final bend but as Lee Jung-su headed towards the line for victory in 2:17.611, his team-mates collided and crashed out of the race to leave American Ohno with the silver, a record sixth Olympic short-track medal, making him the most decorated American man in Winter Olympic history.
Lindsey Vonn's has completed a slalom run unscathed and has now moved from wondering whether she will compete in these Games to shaking off the rust, according to the American skiier's husband Thomas.