PARK CITY, Utah – Three Americans made history on the halfpipe Monday, as Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas gave the United States its first medals sweep in the Winter Olympics in 46 years.
Soaring 10 and 15 feet above the hollowed-out snow chute on a gorgeous, sun-kissed day, the Americans won all three medals in a Winter event for the first time since the 1956 men's figure skating team in Cortina, Italy.
It was only the second Winter Games sweep ever for the United States, and it was topped by Powers the day after his 23rd birthday.
"I couldn't ask for anything more," he said. "It's the best birthday present ever. These guys beside me is also huge. Today was just the perfect day."
The sweep bumped the United States up to six medals, including the halfpipe gold won Sunday by Kelly Clark, who was on hand to watch her countrymen sweep.
The chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A, U.S.A" were deafening.
An estimated 30,000 fans — many of them who came when the women's downhill event was postponed because of weather — waved their flags, clanged their cowbells and soaked in the hippest Olympic sport.
In the luge, the 35-year-old Georg Hackl — who prefers Heineken to the halfpipe — piloted his sled to a silver medal, breaking his decade of dominance in the Winter Games event.
On Monday night, by a margin as thin a skate blade, Russian pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia took the gold over Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada in a controversial decision that swung on the vote of a single judge.
Sale wept and Pelletier waved his hand in disgust after the decision that seemed to contradict what the crowd had just seen.
LUGE: It looked a little strange: Georg Hackl standing in the spot reserved for the silver medalist.
After three straight Olympic gold medals, the German luger's unprecedented run success ended Monday when he settled for a silver medal — finishing behind gold medalist Armin Zoeggeler of Italy.
Hackl did not appear upset by his near-miss at winning an unprecedented fourth straight gold in the same Winter Olympics event. He still won a medal in a record-setting fifth games, he applauded Zoeggler's winning effort, and his temporary Utah home has a refrigerator full of his beloved German beer.
"I'm getting a silver, and that's great," Hackl said. "Now, two silver medals will frame three gold medals."
Markus Prock of Austria, a 10-time World Cup champion, won the bronze. America's 38-year luge dry spell continued as Adam Heidt finished fourth, the best singles finish in U.S. team history.
FIGURE SKATING: First they collided during warmups. Then they competed for the gold — with Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia barely emerging victorious.
But not everyone agreed with the judges' decision, including the crowd that chanted "Six! Six!" — a perfect score — after watching the performance by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada.
The Canadians wound up with the silver.
Sikharulidze and Sale both overcame a hard crash during warm-ups, and the collision had no apparent effect on either pair's performances in the free skate — the second part of the two-day competition.
The Russians collected seven 5.9s for artistry, just enough to give their nation its 11th straight gold medal dating back to 1964. A disgusted Pelletier, who moments earlier had kissed the ice, waved his hand dismissively as the results were posted.
The bronze medal went to Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo of China. American champions Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman finished fifth.
DOWNHILL: After waiting four years for a shot at a third Olympic medal, U.S. skier Picabo Street had to wait another day.
Whipping winds at the top of the Wildflower course, 9,016 feet up Mount Ogden, led Olympic organizers to postpone the women's downhill, now expected to take place on Tuesday.
Street hopes to become the first American woman to win three Olympic skiing medals. She captured a downhill silver in '94 and a super-G gold in '98.
SPEEDSKATING: It wasn't the snowboard sweep, but American speedskaters took three of the top seven spots in the 500 meters qualifying. Casey FitzRandolph, who struggled four years ago, set an Olympic record as the fastest qualifier
American Kip Carpenter was a surprising third, while U.S. record holder Joey Cheek was seventh at 34.78. The finals were set for Tuesday.
Defending gold medalist Hiroyasu Shimizu of Japan had the second fastest time. And Nagano silver medalist Jeremy Wotherspoon of Canada tumbled to the ice shortly after starting, knocking himself out of the competition.
BIATHLON: Andrea Henkel, a 24-year-old German, won her first Olympic medal with a gold in the women's 15-kilometer biathlon. The silver went to Liv Grete Poiree of Norway, while Magdalena Forsberg of Sweden — the most successful female biathlete in history — won her first Olympic medal with a bronze.
In the men's 20-kilometer race, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway won the gold medal. Frank Luck of Germany won the silver and Victor Maigourov of Russia won the bronze.
CURLING: America's curling team, which finished fourth in Nagano, opened its Salt Lake City bid by upsetting the defending world champion, Sweden. The 10-5 victory came after team skipper Tim Somerville hit a tremendous shot late in the game.
In other first round play in the 10-team tournament, Finland defeated Denmark, 9-3, Germany topped France, 9-5 and Canada, the 2000 world champion, edged Britain 6-4.
Back at night, the Americans fell to 1-1 with an 9-3 loss to Canada. Switzerland rebounded with a 5-4 victory over Norway.
In the women's curling, play opened with four games: Canada beat Sweden, 5-4; Britain topped Norway, 10-6; Germany defeated Russia, 8-5; and Switzerland beat Denmark, 9-8.
MEN'S HOCKEY: Ukraine, led by Valentyn Oletsky's two goals, kept alive its chances of moving past the preliminary round with a 5-2 victory over Switzerland. The loss likely means elimination for the Swiss.
In a later game, Belarus moved its record to 2-0 by defeating France 3-1.
WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Canada, the defending silver medalist, opened the Olympic women's hockey tournament with a 7-0 victory over Kazakstan. Natalya Trunova made 59 saves for Kazakstan in the losing effort.
Russia, a 3-2 loser in its first game Monday against Sweden, must now defeat or tie the Canadians to advance to the medal round. Sweden outshot the Russians 44-14.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.