American Chad Hedrick stormed to victory in the men's 5,000m speed skating as he began his quest for a record-equalling five gold medals.
Hedrick is a two-time world 5,000m champion
Hedrick is seeking to match compatriot Eric Heiden's feat of five wins at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.
Skating on slow ice, his winning time of six minutes, 14.68 seconds was just .02 seconds outside the Games best.
Dutchman Sven Kramer was second, while Enrico Fabris gave hosts Italy their first medal of the Games with bronze.
Roared on by the home fans, Fabris took his place on the podium in style, skating a brilliant final 1,000m.
After his victory, Hedrick pointed to US first lady Laura Bush in the stands before soaking in a standing ovation from the generous Dutch crowd.
Hedrick, an inline skating world champion who switched to ice in late 2002, also plans to compete in the 1,000m, 1,500m, 10,000m and new team pursuit events.
The 28-year-old Texan dedicated the win to his late grandmother, Geraldine Hedrick, who died of brain cancer on the same date in 1993.
"I didn't come here to win one gold medal," Hedrick said. "You are going to see my face around here a lot more.
"I'm confident after my performance that I'm going to have more successful races."
He added: "I was thinking about my grandmother. She was watching me from up above and giving me the energy I needed to get to the finish line."