Austria's Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, an openly gay athlete who also plays football in her home nation for FC Wacker, finished second, with Coline Mattel of France third.
The pre-event favourite had been Japanese teenager Sara Takanashi, on whose slender frame rested enormous hopes, but the 17-year-old -- who has dominated this season's events -- finished fourth.
"I came here wanting to do my best. I'm incredibly disappointed," said the world No. 1, who stands 4 feet 11 inches. "It's a good experience being at the Olympic Games and I'm glad to be part of it."
BEST OF THE REST
Elsewhere, Ola Vigen Hattestad won the men's cross country sprint where three competitors fell in the final, eventually leading home Swedish duo Teodor Peterson and Emil Joensson.
"I didn't see them fall," said Hattestad. "I thought it was a little bit weird that no one attacked me on the uphill because I was skiing quite slowly."
Norway became the first country to win the men's and women's cross country sprint after Maiken Caspersen Falla had triumphed earlier, whooping with delight after beating compatriot Ingvild Flugstad Oesterberg and Slovenia's Vesna Fabjan.
Norwegians have now won 38 Olympic cross country skiing events, the highest tally of golds won by any country in any sport at the Winter Games.
The first gold of the day went to 19-year-old Canadian Dara Howell in the women's slopestyle skiing gold.
She led home American Devin Logan and fellow Canadian Kim Lamarre, while Yuki Tsubota had to be carried off on a stretcher after a heavy fall -- with a Canadian team spokesperson later saying she had avoided serious injury.
South Korea has been dominant in speed skating in recent Olympics but had come away empty handed in the Adler Arena Skating Center until Lee Sang Hwa won gold in the women's 500m speed skating.
Her total time of 74.70 was good enough to win her nation its first gold of the games, and lead her home ahead of Russia's Olga Fatkulina and Margot Boer of the Netherlands.
One of the performances of the day came from Darya Domracheva in the women's biathlon 10 km pursuit as she became the first Winter Olympic gold medalist from Belarus, finishing a massive 37 seconds ahead of Norway's Tora Berger and Slovenian Teja Gregorin.
While Domracheva was impressive, so was Germany's Natalie Geisenberger in the women's luge.
She registered the biggest winning margin in any luge event at the Winter Olympics since 1964 as Germany won this event for the fifth tournament in a row.
"I can't find any words right now. All I know is that nobody can take it from me," said a woman who beat her rivals by over a second, an enormous time in luge.
"Near the end I knew it was enough. I wanted to scream with joy even before the race was over."
Compatriot Tatjana Huefner's silver means Germany has now won 12 of the 15 available medals in this event from 1998 until 2014, including all five golds.
Erin Hamlin finished third as the United States won its first medal in women's luge.