"The Star Spangled Banner" played for the first time Sunday night at the Olympic Medals Plaza, and Kelly Clark relished all 80 seconds of it.

The 18-year-old snowboarder picked up the United States' first gold medal of the 2002 Winter Games for her performance in the women's halfpipe at Park City Mountain Resort.

"It's really amazing to hear our national anthem playing and see the crowd cheering for me," Clark said, proudly wearing her first-ever Olympic medal and clutching the bouquet of yellow roses given to all medalists. "I never thought in a million years I'd get here."

On being the first gold medalist from the United States, Clark said, "It means a lot to me. We've had a tough few months here in the U.S. and it's great to be part of something that we can take pride in."

Clark's medal brings the total United States medal tally to three. Speedskater Derek Parra and freestyle skier Shannon Bahrke received silver medals Saturday night.

By far, Clark received the loudest cheers of the night from the estimated 20,000 crowd members. American flags waved and feet stomped as the Vermont native took the podium between Doriane Vidal of France and Fabienne Reuteler of Switzerland.

All 15 medals were awarded Sunday night:

Alpine skiing, men's downhill: Gold, Fritz Strobl, Austria; silver, Lasse Kjus, Norway; bronze.

Nordic combined, individual K90 and 15K: Gold, Samppa Lajunen, Finland; silver, Jaakko Tallus, Finland; bronze, Felix Gottwald, Austria.

Speedskating, ladies' 3000m: Gold, Claudia Pechstein, Germany; silver, Renate Groenewold, Netherlands; bronze, Cindy Klassen, Canada.

Ski jumping, K90 Individual: Gold, Simon Ammann, Switzerland; silver, Sven Hannawald, Germany; bronze, Adam Malysz, Poland.

Snowboarding, women's halfpipe: Gold, Kelly Clark, United States; silver, Doriane Vidal, France; bronze, Fabienne Reuteler, Switzerland.

Fireworks erupted in the night sky as the night's musical act, Lifehouse, took the stage. The band was the last to be announced and its appearance was greeted with some disappointment, as many ticket holders believed U2 would perform at the Medals Plaza.

But not many seemed disappointed, as the crowd members danced and sang along to the band's hourlong set.

E-MAIL: awelling@desnews.com