Russia won its first gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Sunday in team figure skating, a sport that is making its debut at the Games this year.

The Russians assured themselves the gold even before the ice dancing competition finished in the Iceberg Arena positioned as they were an unbeatable 11 points ahead of Canada.

Julia Lipnitskaya, 15, clinched the gold for the Olympic hosts before a crowd that included President Vladimir Putin with a brilliant free skate program in which she garnered 10 decisive points, followed by U.S. skater Gracie Gold and Italy's Valentina Marchei.

Shortly before that, in the men's free skate figure skating, veteran Evgeni Plushenko, an Olympic champion in Turin in 2006 and runner-up in Salt Lake City in 2002, cleared the road for the Russian team by beating Canada's Kevin Reynolds and Japan's Tatsuki Machida.

Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimnov won for Russia in the pair free skate competition, which was the first event on Sunday.

Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov came in third in the free dance skating round that closed out the competition, an event won by the U.S. pair of world champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

The Russians took the gold, followed by Canada and the United States taking the silver and bronze medals, respectively. EFE