Credit: @Sochi2014

Sochi mascot melancholy after Russia men’s hockey KO’d

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It’s been a rollercoaster Sochi Olympics for the Polar Bear, which has been the most visible of the Games’ three mascots.

We’ve seen our cuddly friend endure through the torment of trying to fit his head inside of a minivan.

We’ve also seen him happily dancing up a storm at the hockey competition, an exercise so compelling it got our own Keith Jones to dance along with him.

But today, after the Russian men’s hockey team was eliminated from the Sochi playoffs on home ice by Finland, he was understandably distraught.

Indeed, he’s finding the loss a bit hard to bear. Stay strong, buddy.

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