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Live from an Olympic medal ceremony

CNET's Ina Fried is on hand to catch the reaction as now national icon Alexandre Bilodeau receives the first gold of any Canada-hosted games.

Women's cross-country medals
Medals are handed out for women's 10-kilometer cross-country skiing Monday night. Ina Fried/CNET

WHISTLER, British Columbia--While most of the medal ceremonies Monday are taking place here, the most important one in this country was the one held moments ago, two hours south, in Vancouver.

That ceremony, for men's mogul skiing, was the clear centerpiece and shown on the big screen here ahead of the medals handed out live.

There were loud cheers for bronze medalist Bryon Wilson of the U.S., louder still for Australian silver medalist Dale Begg-Smith, but a deafening roar erupted for now national icon Alexandre Bilodeau, who brought home Canada's first gold of the Vancouver--or any Canada-hosted--games.

And then a chorus sang along as "O Canada" was played for the first time at a medal ceremony in this country.

So far the men's luge medals have been handed out, and they are up to cross-country skiing.

But there were highlights long before the champions were crowned.

As the contingent of Swiss athletes entered Whistler Medals Plaza, many of the participants pulled out cameras of their own.

"I love that they're taking pictures of us and we're taking pictures of them," said a nearby ceremony attendee--Nina Patti, 17, from Toronto.

The festivities started out in the early evening with some Olympic trivia or, "q and eh," as it was dubbed.

During each of two rounds, the audience got all five answers right, prompting dancing cheerleaders to throw some more cowbells, those hard-to-find red mittens, and more schwag.

The best-dressed award clearly went to part of the large Swiss contingent that came dressed as cows.

Also, from the "this would never happen in the U.S." department: the organizers passed out giant beach balls for the crowd to bat around, then asked for them back before the ceremony started and actually got them all back in time for the playing of the Olympic anthem and raising of the Olympic flag.

There were lots of other good stories at the evening's medals ceremony, including Bode Miller's bronze; loud cheers celebrating the fact that Sweden broke a long cross-country medal drought with a gold; and medals going to smaller countries such as Estonia and the Czech Republic.