The Russians are back on top in pairs skating

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Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov captured their first world championship Friday in Ontario after finishing second the last two years.

The pair, who probably represent the best chance the home team has of winning any figure skating medals at the Olympics next year, earned 225.71 points to effectively route the field. Their closest competitors, two time defending champs Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, finished in second with 205.56 points.

When he asked what the win meant, Trankov admitted that it might actually be bigger for the country than for him and Tatiana: “It means we can fight for the gold in Sochi and give back to Russia Olympic gold.”

Of course, since Russia won twelve consecutive Olympic golds in pairs skating between 1964 and 2006 – before missing the podium entirely in 2010 – maybe that’s where the gold rightfully belongs.

Watch NBC Sports’ Alpine skiing World Cup preview video

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NBC Sports will air coverage of 87 Alpine skiing races at 22 resorts across the globe this fall and winter, from October through March, in the final full season before the 2018 Olympics.

Highlights include fall and winter stops in the U.S. with races in Killington, Vt.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.

Lindsey Vonn‘s highlighted World Cup stop will be downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Canada, the first weekend of December.

The world championships in February will be in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend titles.


Skier goes airborne in World Cup opener (video)

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Canadian skier Phil Brown was fortunate to walk away from an airborne crash at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.

Brown failed to finish his first run, losing contact with the snow early on and falling hard onto his side.

He tweeted a video of the crash, with slow-motion replays, with a soundtrack of Irish singer Enya‘s “Only Time.”

The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, in three weeks.

MORE: Ted Ligety recovers to finish fifth in first race in 9 months