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Sochi Olympics will have protest zones

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Specific areas for protests or demonstrations have been set aside for the Sochi Olympics by Russian Games organizers, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday.

“People who want to express their opinions or want to demonstrate for or against something,” IOC president Thomas Bach said, according to The Associated Press. “This is a measure we welcome so that everybody can express his or her free opinion.”

Protest zones are standard for the Olympics, an IOC spokesman said.

“This was under discussion with the IOC for quite some time,” Bach said, according to Reuters.

In August, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning all “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” that are not part of the Olympics or the Paralympics from Jan. 7 to March 21.

In June, a law was passed banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors in Russia.

IOC finalizes letter reminding athletes not to protest in Sochi

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