Despite the jam-packed schedule of Day 1 in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games — five medal events in five different sports! — the standout moment for Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer is likely very easy to determine.
Today’s 5,000-meter men’s speed skating final wasn’t just a chance for Kramer to defend his gold medal from the 2010 Vancouver games. It was also a chance at redemption for the phenom, whose triumphant 2010 Olympics bid was marred by a disqualification in the 10,000-meter final (for an illegal lane shift).
But in his race against U.S. skater Jonathan Kuck, Kramer was once again in fine form, besting the opponent by nearly 21 seconds. Despite heavy competition from Russia’s athletes early on, the Netherlands’ resident powerhouse ultimately defended the gold — his fifth career Olympic medal — with teammates Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma snagging silver and bronze, respectively.
The day on the ice wasn’t quite so victorious for Team USA, with Kuck only managing 19th place (out of 26). Similarly, U.S. competitor Patrick Meek nabbed 20th place, and 17-year-old Emery Lehman made his Olympic debut in 16th.
Was the Netherlands’ 1-2-3 sweep your favorite moment from Day 1? Was it American alpine skier Bode Miller’s continued domination of the slopes? Or was it the stunning debut of 15-year-old Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia, who dazzled in the women’s short program? Sound off in the comments!Follow @rebeccaiannucci