SOCHI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Hosts Russia on Saturday lived up to expectations of home crowds on the first competition day of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games by topping the medal table with four gold, six silver and two bronze medals.
Germany, another winter sports powerhouse, finished the day with two gold medals. Ukraine, Slovakia, Japan, France, Austria and Spain each got a gold the first day off to join Russia and Germany atop the medal table.
All of Saturday's medals were produced from skiing - biathlon and alpine skiing, in which the Russians set up two 1-2 finishes en route to taking the lion's share of medals of the day; all of Russia's gold medals on Saturday came from biathlon.
The day also witnessed some mishaps among the glories. Several crashes occurred on the alpine skiing slopes, from where Tyler Walker had to be airlifted after the 27-year-old American skier cartwheeled several times after crash.
U.S. Paralympics later tweeted that Tyler Walker, in his third Paralympics and medal shot in the downhill event in Sochi, was conscious and stable.
The opening competition day also saw a couple of surprises.
South Korea, runners-up of wheelchair curling from Vancouver four years ago, suffered a stunning opening-round defeat of 10-0, in just six ends, to Norway which did not make it to the medal round in the Canadian city.
Hosts Russia, who did not play in Vancouver, surprised China with a final-end score to win their first-rounder 5-4 in wheelchair curling.
The Chinese, who have pulled off some bronze medal performances at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship, came from behind twice before losing it all in the eighth and final end.
In ice sledge hockey group actions, Vancouver bronze medalists Norway were stretched into overtime and then into game-winning-shots period before they pulled away and safe 2-1.
In all, some 1,500 paralympians and their guiding team members are vying 72 gold medals in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, wheelchair curling, ice sledge hockey and snowboarding in Sochi.