Ole Einar Bjoerndalen came within 1.7 seconds of making Winter Olympic history before being forced to settle for fourth place in the men's 12.5km biathlon pursuit in Rosa Khutor.

The 40-year-old Norwegian, who had equalled compatriot Bjoern Daehlie's all-time record of 12 Winter Games medals by taking gold in Saturday's 10km sprint, finished behind winner Martin Fourcade of France, with Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic taking silver and another Frenchman, Jean Beatrix, pipping him for third.

It was the first Winter Olympic gold medal for Fourcade, a five-time world champion, who had finished in a disappointing sixth place in the opening sprint race.

Bjoerndalen will have as many as four more chances to beat Daehlie's record, continuing with the men's 20km individual on Thursday.

Maria Hoefl-Riesch won her second successive Winter Olympics gold medal in the super combined after producing a stellar run in the slalom at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

The second gold medal decided on Monday afternoon was in the men's 1500 metre short track, with Canada's Charles Hamelin skating off with the spoils to add to the two gold medals he won in Vancouver four years ago.

Hamelin had qualified as the quickest racer from the three semi-finals earlier in the day, and the 29-year-old lived up to his favourite tag by clocking 2:14.985 in the showpiece.

Han Tianyu claimed the silver medal with a time of 2:15.055, with home favourite Victor An completing the podium.

Hamelin said afterwards: "It's not my best distance, but I had a really good start and was able to control the race afterwards."

Michel Mulder claimed Holland's first Winter Olympic gold in the 500m speed skating in the event's 90-year history.

The 27-year-old held off countryman Jan Smeekens and twin brother Ronald as the Dutch claimed a clean sweep of medals.

Canada claimed a one-two in the final of the men's moguls, but Russia's Alexandr Smyshlyaev denied them a clean sweep of medals in the freestyle event.

Smyshlyaev threw down the gauntlet to the Canadian trio in the final on the third and last run, mastering the softening course to score 26.31 and a mark of 81.13 percent.

Defending champion Alex Bilodeau topped that, however, with a points total of 26.31 giving him an overall mark of 87.70 percent, with last-man down Mikael Kingsbury then snatching silver with 82.36 percent.

Kingsbury's run pushed team-mate Marc-Antoine Gagnon out of the top three, with his final mark of 77.83 percent falling short of Smyshlyaev.

In the Ice Cube Center, the curling competition got under way for both the men and women.

In the men's event, world champions Sweden gained the early advantage with wins over Switzerland and Great Britain, while their female compatriots, defending their Olympic title, got the better of Eve Muirhead's British rink 6-4.