All that glitters is not gold — and for the United States Olympic Team, silver was twice as nice Saturday.

Team USA struck silver twice, winning a pair of second-place medals in Saturday events of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.

Freestyle skier Shannon Bahrke earned the honor of winning the first U.S. medal of the 2002 Olympics, finishing behind Norway's Kari Traa in the women's moguls at Deer Valley early Saturday afternoon.

Only a couple of hours later at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, U.S. speedskater Derek Parra posted a world- and Olympic-record time of 6 minutes 17.98 seconds in the men's 5,000 meters.

Parra eventually settled for his own silver medal, as the Netherlands' Jochem Uytdehaage won at 6:14.66 on the oval's notoriously fast ice.

How fitting that Bahrke won her medal just a short ski run away for the silver mines that helped foster the Park City area's initial industry, which has since turned to skiing down the silver-snow ski resorts and watching silver-screen debuts at Sundance Film Festival events.

And Salt Lake City and the state of Utah can lay partial claim to Bahrke, the former University of Utah student who battled back from a life-threatening staph infection. (See complete moguls coverage and Brad Rock's column on Page S8.)

Ranked 15th in the world going into the men's 5,000 meters, Parra's silver medal comes as somewhat of a surprise for the American speedskater who specializes in middle distances. (See complete speedskating coverage on Page S9.)

Parra has lived, trained and worked in Utah in preparation for the 2002 Games — but at the expense of being with his wife and a new daughter born in December. New-daddy Derek had been at home with his family in Florida for only one week since the birth, but the absence now has a silver lining.


E-MAIL: taylor@desnews.com