Nao Kodaira led a Japanese 1-2 in the women's 500 metres as the International Skating Union (ISU) Speed Skating World Cup season began at the Heilongjiang Provincial Speed Skating Oval in Harbin in China today.
Kodaira, winner of an Olympic team pursuit silver medal at Vancouver 2010, clocked 38.00sec to take the maximum 100 points available in the sprint distance.
She edged her team-mate Maki Tsuji who came home for the silver medal in 38.17, with China's home hopeful Jing Yu bagging bronze in 38.18sec.
American Heather Richardson-Bergsma, the defending overall 500m champion, had to settle for fifth place in a time of 38.39.
South Korea's Lee Sang-hwa, the back-to-back Olympic champion in the 500m, was only sixth in 38.47 as China's Olympic 1,000m gold medallist Zhang Hong came home tenth in 38.32.
In the men's 5,000m there was normal service as Dutch superstar Sven Kramer clocked 6min 21.60sec to claim top honours.
The long-distance specialist and triple Olympic champion has again started this season in ominous form by edging compatriot Jorrit Bergsma.
His rival claimed silver in 6:22.38 as Erik Jan Kooiman completed a Dutch clean sweep of the podium, finishing in 6:26.43.
The women's 3,000m title went to Czech skater Martina Sábliková, the Vancouver 2010 champion.
She was timed at 4:08.26 to beat Marije Joling of The Netherlands, who managed 4:09.40, into silver.
Canada's Ivanie Blondin took the bronze medal after she was timed at 4:09.78.
Dutch skater Ireen Wüst, the Olympic champion at both Turin 2006 and Sochi 2014, had to settle for a seventh placed finish in a time of 4:11.76.
Men's 500m action is due to take place tomorrow, when both the men and women will also contest 1000m races before team pursuit action rounds off the day.