VIDEO: Lindsey scores first victory of 2013

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Lindsey Vonn won her first downhill race of the new year in Italy Saturday, and her first race of any kind in more than five weeks, beating World Cup points leader Tina Maze by roughly a half-second.

“I’m excited to be racing and I have that fire again and I trust that my body is strong enough to ski the way I want to ski,” Vonn told the AP. “It wasn’t always the case in all the races this year. I’m back to my old self and it’s a good feeling.”

After a three-week break, and another skipped race following her return, Vonn finished in 1:38.25. Maze finished 0.43 behind and American Leanne Smith finished third for her second podium of the season.

“When I decided to take the break, I was so weak,” added Vonn. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to build enough strength back up in that short time to be able to race… I finally feel like myself again. I feel healthy, finally, and I’m able to ski the way I want to. It’s good to be back on top.”

Vonn is back on the mountain Sunday competing in a super-G race in Cortina. The four time world champ has won this particular race each of the last three years, so hopes are high.

Enjoy her performance here:

Russian pairs skater slices leg in worlds practice, needs 10 stitches (video)

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Russian pairs skater Yevgenia Tarasova needed 10 stitches after her partner’s skate sliced her leg in practice Wednesday.

Hours later, Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov skated to third place in the short program at the world championships in Helsinki.

“We were thinking about withdrawing because after this incident we left the ice immediately, there was a long break off the ice, we didn’t know how I would feel in skates,” Tarasova said afterward. “But when I was asked, ‘Will you skate?’ I said, ‘I will!’ And I wasn’t thinking about the pain during our performance.”

Morozov called her “a hero.”

In Thursday’s free skate, Tarasova and Morozov will be largely tasked with keeping Russia from going three straight years without world championships pairs medalists, which would be the longest drought for Soviet and Russian pairs since their dominance began in the 1960s.

Tarasova and Morozov trail Chinese leaders Sui Wenjing and Han Cong by 1.86 points and second-place Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany by .47.

Another Russian pair is in fifth place going into the free skate (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Full worlds short program results are here.

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MORE: U.S. pairs skater back from life-threatening condition

World Cup champ lands first quad cork 1800 (video)

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Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli landed what’s being touted as the first ski quad cork 1800 in a video published recently.

Ragettli, 18, is one of the leading slopestyle skiers in the world. He won the World Cup season title in 2015-16 and placed second this year, in addition to fifth- and sixth-place finishes at the last two Winter X Games.

Previously, Ragettli became the first slopestyle skier to land back-to-back triples in a full competition at the 2016 Winter X Games, according to ESPN.com.

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