Victor An led a strong first day for Russia at the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Salt Lake City ©ISU

Russia’s Victor An, the six-time Olympic champion who reversed a decision to retire earlier this year, picked up a silver in the men’s 500 metres event before anchoring his country to a thrilling gold in the mixed gender 2,000m relay as the first medals of the new season’s International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track Speed Skating World Cup were handed out in Salt Lake City today.

In the men’s 500m final, An clocked a time of 39.961sec to finish 0.232 seconds behind world champion Hwang Dae Heon of South Korea at the Utah Olympic Oval.

European champion Shaoang Liu of Hungary held off Pyeongchang 2018 gold medallist Wu Dajing of China for the bronze medal in 40.006.

The mixed gender 2,000m relay final saw An triumph alongside Daniil Eybog, Ekaterina Efremenkova and Sofia Prosvirnova in 2min 37.585sec.

An, born in South Korea’s capital Seoul as Ahn Hyun-soo but who switched allegiance to Russia in time for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, was skating his country’s anchor leg and as China’s Han Tianyu took a wide line on the final lap, the Russian whipped through on the inside to secure victory.

Prosvirnova, who skated the third leg, said having An back on the team made the relay a special occasion.

"I don’t race the mixed relay much, so it was really exciting, especially with Victor coming back," she said.

"I’m glad of the result.

"I’m really proud of the team."

Joining Han on the silver medal-winning Chinese team were Fan Kexin, Qu Chunyu and Wu, posting a time of 2:37.730.

South Korea’s Kim Alang, Kim Dagyeom, Park Ji Won and Seo Whi Min came third in 2:37.817.

There was also success for Russia in the men's 1,500m final, with Pyeongchang 2018 bronze medallist Semen Elistratov winning in 2:16.025 and Alexander Shulginov taking the bronze medal in 2:16.138.

Sandwiched between them was South Korea's Kim Dong Wook, who registered a time of 2:16.118 on his ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup debut.

In the women's 500m final, Italy's Martina Valcepina immediately put distance between herself and the other skaters and went onto prevail in 42.603.

The Netherlands' Yara van Kerkhof was able to hold off Hungary’s Petra Jászapáti for the silver medal in 42.865, bettering her rival's time by 0.097 seconds. 

World champion Lara van Ruijven of The Netherlands missed out on the final after she finished third in a tough quarter-final won by Poland’s Natalia Maliszewska, who crashed out in the battle for medals.

Completing today's list of winners was a rejuvenated Kim Boutin after the Canadian showed impressive speed to triumph in the women's 1,500m final in 2:22.061.

Boutin was trailed by last season’s overall World Cup winner Suzanne Schulting of The Netherlands and China's Han Yutong. 

Schulting finished in 2:22.211, while Han came home in 2:22.282.

Reigning world and Olympic champion Choi Min Jeong of South Korea missed out on the final after finishing fourth in a slow semi-final which was controlled superbly by Han and eight-time Olympic medallist Arianna Fontana of Italy.