Vladimir Putin is not a man known for passing up an opportunity to show off his physical abilities, as we have seen countless images of him boxing, playing soccer, riding horses, and yes, topless fishing. This week, when the chance to train and spar with the Russian national judo team in Sochi presented itself, he could not resist, although it had an outcome slightly different from what Putin might have been expecting.
Putin was paired to spar with Natalia Kuzyutina, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and when she did, she gave him a real taste of legit sparring with an Olympic champion and sent him flying and to the ground. Some footage from the session was said to have aired on state broadcaster RT’s Spanish channel and shows the moment Kuzyutina pulled Putin to the floor but sources say the Kremlin has yet to release images from the event, leading many to speculate about a cover-up to keep it from the public.
Kuzyutina, who has become known for her Olympic success and her glamorous presence in the media, posted twice on Instagram about the session with Putin and said, “Thank you for the honour…” and revealed how she pulled the Russian leader over her head and onto the ground.
Putin was asked about judo, which he has done before for a photo opportunity, and he DOES wear a black belt while doing so, signifying a high level of achievement in the sport. Putin elaborated:
It’s a well known medical fact – the level of adrenaline increases in a person who practices physical exercises, so your mood improves, and you take a different look on the world around you…. I can probably say that it helps you to get real.”Vladimir Putin
A daily Russian newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomolets (known as MK) reported their take on the event: “Kuzyutina was a lot pushier than fellow male sportsmen…she kept going on and on and finally managed to throw Vladimir Putin over her head. He wasn’t upset but indeed appreciated her persistence. He got up and kissed Natalya on the top of her head.”
At this same late night session, which began around 9pm, after a day of tense meetings with the leaders or Turkey and Iran AND a state banquet, Putin injured a finger on his right hand while sparring with Olympic champion Beslan Mudranov and was evaluated by a doctor and released.