Aida Bella

Poland short track speed skaters turn to Playboy for funding

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The November issue of Playboy in Poland features an Olympic cover.

Short track speed skaters Aida Bella and Marta Wojcik are the centerpiece, each holding skates while standing back to back (like the famous Larry BirdMagic Johnson “Choose Your Weapon” ad by Converse, only with less clothing).

Bella and Wojcik appeared in the magazine in hopes of garnering attention and funding leading into the Sochi Olympics, according to European reports.

It’s uncertain whether Bella or Wojcik will qualify for Sochi.

A Polish short track skater has never finished better than 11th at the Olympics. The nation did not send a female skater to the Games until 2010.

Neither Bella nor Wojcik is ranked in the top 40 in the world in an individual event (an Olympic field size is capped at 32 or 36.). Poland is outside the top 10 in team relay rankings (eight nations compete in the Olympic relay).

Olympic qualifying concludes at a World Cup stop this weekend in Kolomna, Russia.

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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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