Zhang Hong of China skated the race of her life early in Thursday's women's 1,000-meter event, then hung on to win the gold medal.
Skating in the seventh of 18 pairings against defending gold medalist Christine Nesbitt of Canada, Hong posted a time of 1:14.02, which none of the later skaters could catch.
The best attacks were launched by the athletes from the Netherlands, who would go on to claim two more speedskating medals thanks to strong performances from Ireen Wust and Margot Boer.
It was another day of disappointment for the U.S speedskaters, who have yet to earn a medal in Sochi. Going into the women's 1,000-meter race with high expectations, Heather Richardson finished seventh with a time of 1:15:23 while her training partner Brittany Bowe was eighth in 1:25:47.
Medal Results for Women's 1,000-meter Speedskating:
Gold: Zhang Hong - China - 1:14:02
Silver: Ireen Wust - Netherlands - 1:14:69
Bronze: Margot Boer - Netherlands - 1:14:90