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.
In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.
The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.
The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.
Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.
NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.
MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi
Tied with three seconds left, Alexander Lynggaard went for a gutsy shot from midcourt to win a French handball league match Thursday.
Watch the above video with no commentary, but check out the French commentary on the Instagram video from Lynggaard’s account below.
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