Therese Johaug raised her arms overhead and smiled, her defeated foes left gasping for air on the ground behind her.
The first of many gold medal moments captured by Associated Press photographers at these Beijing Olympics.
The first medals were awarded Saturday as the Winter Games began in earnest, and the Norwegian Johaug took the first gold on the docket in the women's 15-kilometer skiathlon. Five more were handed out during the first full day of competition.
It didn't take long for these Games to provide their first upsets, either.
Sara Takanashi of Japan soared into the night sky but didn't have enough for a medal at the women's ski jump — a stunner considering her record 61 World Cup victories. Slovenia’s Ursa Bogataj earned that gold.
Snowboarders took their first competitive turn on the slopestyle course and found out the replica “Great Wall” lining the hill wasn't quite great enough to stave off a piercing, bone-chilling wind. “They need a bigger wall," joked American Jamie Anderson.
Pietro Sighel of Italy didn't have any trouble with the elements at short track speedskating, but he wiped out all the same, crashing into the padded wall along the rink during his heat of the men’s 1,000-meter.
Meanwhile, outside the National Stadium, the Olympic flame burned at the center of its snowflake cauldron as the sun set over Beijing. One day of competition down, 15 to go.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports