So convinced was Sasha Cohen that her performance Thursday night would not yield a medal she changed out of her maroon skating outfit before the award ceremony.
"I really didn't think I would get a medal," Cohen said. "I was a little bit in shock."
She put the outfit back on to accept the silver medal in ladies figure skating.
"I was very disappointed in my skate," Cohen said. "I definitely gave 100 percent of my effort. I gave it my all, so I have no regrets from that. It just wasn't my night."
The night belonged to Shizuka Arakawa, the first Japanese figure skater to win a gold medal. Russia's Irina Slutskaya earned the bronze. Slutskaya, Arakawa and Cohen started the night in a virtual tie for first place after near-flawless short programs Tuesday night.
"I was a little nervous but not overly so for an Olympic Games," Cohen said. "I felt good. I was in a good place."
Cohen fell twice during her warm-up and appeared nervous as she skated onto the ice to begin her long program. She was trying to do something she had never done in international competition: skate a clean long program after a top-notch short program. Her streak continued after she fell on her first two triple jumps.
"Those jumps just weren't going that well for me," Cohen said. "I tried hard, but my timing was off."
Cohen would not speculate about a possible return to the Olympics in 2010.
"I've got to see how my body holds up, see what I want to be doing."
Two Americans likely to compete in the Olympics again finished in the Top 7. Kimmie Meissner, 16, was sixth, and Emily Hughes, the last-minute replacement for the injured Michelle Kwan, finished seventh.
"I'm really excited about what happened," Hughes said. "This being my first Olympics and my first senior international competition, and I got a personal best. I'm taking a lot away from this competition. It's been a lot of fun."
Hughes' cheering section in the arena included her sister, 2002 gold medalist Sarah Hughes.
Emily Hughes and Meissner return to high school when the Olympics end.