Canada’s Charles Hamelin skated clear of the chaos that makes short track so unpredictable, winning the 1,500 meters Monday in Sochi, Russia, for his third different Olympic title.
At 29, Hamelin was the oldest skater in the final. The wily veteran maintained a top-three position throughout most of the 14-lap race, leaving enough at the end to defeat a loaded field.
‘‘He deserves it,’’ said American J.R. Celski, the 2010 bronze medalist from Federal Way, Wash., who finished fourth.
Hamelin raised his arms in triumph after crossing the finish line at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
‘‘It’s so many emotions,’’ Hamelin said. ‘‘I have put so much work into it.’’
Hamelin will have two more chances to win individual gold in the 500 and 1,000, and he’ll be part of Canada’s team in the 5,000 relay.
Han Tianyu of China took silver. Viktor Ahn of Russia earned the bronze, giving his adopted country its first-ever short-track medal.
Women’s 500 meters — Fan Kexin of China won her heat as she bids to extend her nation’s dominance in the sprint race. For the first time since 2002, someone other than Wang Meng will win the gold. Wang broke her ankle in training last month, forcing her to miss these Games.
Also advancing was Canada’s Marianne St.-Gelais and Arianna Fontana of Italy, the silver and bronze medalists from Vancouver. South Koreans Shim Suk-hee, Park Seung-hi, and Kim Alang moved on.
In a surprise, Emily Scott of Springfield, Mo., was the lone American to qualify for the semis. Skating in Fan’s heat, Jessica Smith of Melvindale, Mich., fell on the first lap after it appeared her blade made contact with the skate of Russian Valeriya Reznik, but the judges made no change in the order of finish.
Men’s moguls — Canada’s Alex Bilodeau defended his gold medal in men’s moguls, fending off rival and countryman Mikael Kingsbury to become the first freestyle skier to win consecutive Olympic titles.
Bilodeau put together a perfect run in the finals, posting a score of 26.31 on the slushy Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course in the medal round. In the giddy aftermath, he reached over a retaining fence and grabbed his older brother Frederic to celebrate. Bilodeau has called his brother, who has cerebral palsy, an inspiration throughout his career.
Kingsbury endured a slight form break in the middle of his run and ended up with silver. Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia took bronze.
Men — Canada made a stuttering start to the defense of its Olympic curling title, following up a scrappy win over unheralded Germany with a surprise loss to Switzerland on a sobering day for the gold-medal favorites.
Sweden was the only team 2 for 2, with wins in tough matches against the Swiss and Britain at the Ice Cube Curling Center.
Canada was sloppy in beating Germany — arguably the weakest lineup in the 10-team competition — 11-8 in the morning and then was upset, 5-4, by Switzerland in the evening. It has given plenty of hope to their rivals for the gold.
Norway proved too strong for the US, taking a 5-1 lead after three ends and winding up a 7-4 winner.
Women — Sweden landed an early psychological blow by beating rival Britain, 6-4, in a tense, strategic opening game between two favorites for the title.
Switzerland beat the United States, 7-4, and Russia delighted its raucous fans by defeating Denmark, 6-4, in the other first round-robin games.
Canada crushed 2010 bronze medalist China, 9-2.
Women’s singles — Natalie Geisenberger of Germany has a commanding lead at the midway point of the women’s luge competition, leading countrywoman Tatjana Huefner by more than three-quarters of a second.
Erin Hamlin of Remsen, N.Y., is in third place, as she tries to become the first American to win an Olympic medal in singles luge.
Men’s 12.5k pursuit — Martin Fourcade won gold and Jean Guillaume Beatrix earned bronze, putting France onto the medals table.
Fourcade missed one target in the standing shooting portion of the race, which he finished in 33 minutes, 48.6 seconds. Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic finished 14.1 seconds later to take silver, and Beatrix was 24.2 seconds behind.
Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was fourth, missing out by 1.7 seconds on what would have been a record 13th Winter Olympics medal.