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Russian pairs skater tears knee ligament, in doubt for Olympics

Alexander Smirnov

Yuko Kavaguti (R) and Alexander Smirnov of Russia perform their free skating program at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: SPORT FIGURE SKATING)


Russia’s second-best pairs figure skating team may be out of the Olympics.

Alexander Smirnov tore a knee ligament falling during his first competition of the season with partner Yuko Kavaguti, according to R-Sport.

The Olympic pairs figure skating competition is Feb. 11-12. It would appear unlikely Smirnov could return from such a serious knee injury in four months.

Smirnov, 28, and Kavaguti, 31, who once competed for Japan, placed fourth at the 2010 Olympics. They were the highest-placing Russian pairs team. It marked the first time since 1960 that a Russian or Soviet team did not win a pairs gold medal, let alone any medal.

Smirnov and Kavaguti had won the 2010 European Championships before the Vancouver Olympics and took bronze at the World Championships one month after the Games.

They finished fourth, seventh and sixth at the next three World Championships and were passed by 2013 world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov as Russia’s top team.

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