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National Geographic World Championship

At Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, three national teams competed in the finals of the National Geographic World Championship, the culmination of an international geography competition pitting countries against each other in world knowledge.

Legendary Jeopardy host Alex Trebek moderated the hour-long quiz show event that challenged students to identify world locations, languages, animals, and cultural artifacts.

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Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek tests the contestants' knowledge of world geography Wednesday at the National Geographic Championship.

Trebek was using crutches at the event because, as he explained in typical Jeopardy question-and-answer form, he had fallen down while chasing a burglar who'd stolen things from his hotel room in San Francisco.

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Russia had a magnificent 6th and final round

Alex Trebek and the three finalist teams--Canada, Chinese Taipei, and Russia--on stage at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

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Sassafras the porcupine

Sassafras the porcupine, on loan from the San Francisco Zoo, joined Trebek onstage for one of the questions in round 3.

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Althea the Owl

A San Francisco Zoo owl named Althea, alongside host Alex Trebek, stares out into the crowd during a demonstration at the National Geographic Championship.

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Spotted turtle

An African spotted turtle is carried off stage following a question during the fourth round of the National Geographic Championship.

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National Geographic Championship

The competition has been held every two years since 1993.

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Chinese Taipei and Russian teams

The Chinese Taipei and Russian teams pause to contemplate a question.

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Russia's Alexander Bondarchuk

Russia's Alexander Bondarchuk (right) thinks before answering a question in the sixth and final round, during which the Russian team eventually took the lead.

Chinese Taipei had the lead going into round 5, but missteps late in the game quickly dropped them from the top spot.

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The Russian team

The Russian team celebrates their victory in the National Geographic Championship Wednesday at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The team had a magnificent sixth and final round, scoring six points to win the competition. It was Russia's first victory in the contest's history.

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National Geographic's John Fahey

Chairman and CEO of the National Geographic Society John Fahey gave the opening remarks at the event, touting the cultural exchange and global education that come with world knowledge.

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Google hosts championship

Google hosted the quiz show-style event in this theater setting, co-sponsoring it along with National Geographic.

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