SOCHI, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin took in some figure skating Sunday, cheering on a 15-year-old phenom who led the host nation to its first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics.
Putin watched as Yulia Lipnitskaya completed her free skate at the Iceberg Skating Palace. She scored 141.51 — good for first place in the category.
The team figure skating competition, making its debut in Sochi, combines various skating disciplines.
Putin cut an unmistakable figure at the opening ceremony on Friday, reviewing the proceedings from his presidential box and then standing to formally declare the Sochi Games open.
Lipnitskaya has dazzled crowds at the Iceberg. They have showered the ice with flowers and teddy bears after her routines, and broken into national-pride chants of "Ross-i-ya!"
Bernat Armangue / AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
First published February 9 2014, 9:34 AM
Erin McClam is a senior writer for NBC News, responsible for reporting, writing and editing general news for NBCNews.com. Prior to joining the site in January 2013, McClam worked at The Associated Press, where he spent 13 years and was most recently financial markets editor. In that role, McClam was responsible for a team of five reporters and a deputy editor that covered the stock and bond markets, financial regulation and the nation's largest banks.
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Prior to that role, McClam held a variety of jobs at AP, including being a national correspondent and an original member of its Top Stories Desk editing operation.
McClam lives in New York.