Flame Watch: Alex Ovechkin to carry the Sochi Torch

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If you’re wondering whether Russian NHL star Alex Ovechkin will be playing in the Olympics: don’t. He’s made up his mind regardless of what the NHL owners and players decide.

“To be honest I didn’t think about it right now,” Ovechkin told the Washington Post. “It doesn’t matter what they’re going to say to me. Of course it means a lot for everybody, for all the Russians. I’ve been in Olympic games and I know exactly how it feel to play there. It’s pretty big, biggest event in the world.”

Also no surprise is the fact that Ovechkin will be a Torchbearer at some point during the 123-day run up the Sochi Games. Whether he’ll light the cauldron is a different question, but the hockey star, whose season starts Saturday in Tampa Bay, said he’s proud to be able to carry the Torch for his hometown Games.

“I’m very happy and it means a lot to me.”

Check out this Coke commercial with him carrying the Torch (translation required):

WATCH LIVE: Women’s slalom at 3:30 P.M. ET

Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn will take on slalom today at the Aspen World Cup stop, airing today at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and stream on NBC Sports Live Extra at the same time.

Shiffrin is seeking her first win on U.S. snow; all of her first place finishes have come from European venues. She has 14 slalom World Cup titles and winning one more would tie her with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall for total slalom World Cup victories.

Vonn can only increase her record World Cup wins – she has the most at 67 wins, and only Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark has more at 86 men’s wins. Of all her titles, the fewest have come from slalom at two.

Yesterday, both Vonn and Shiffrin suffered crashes in grand slalom races.


WATCH LIVE: World Cup men’s downhill – 1:30 p.m. ET

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Before missing the downhill World Cup last year due to injury, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the title in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Today, he may become just the eighth man to win this World Cup title at least three times, but he faces competition from countryman Kjetil Jansrud, who won last year’s title in Svindal’s absence.

The World Cup men’s  downhill at Lake Louise is streaming today at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

MORE: Men’s apline skiing season preview