Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust and Russian President Vladimir Putin got a little cozy at the Holland Heineken House on Sunday night after the day's events.
"I got a cuddle from him," Wust told Dutch national broadcaster NOS.
That simple statement raised some eyebrows considering Wust is one of the few openly gay athletes at the Winter Games — though some emailers have mentioned she’s bisexual — and Putin has been very vocal about Russian laws regarding homosexuality, especially as it pertains to the Games.
Putin made an impromptu stop at Sochi’s most popular partying venue to celebrate after Russia’s team figure skating victory, and he ran into Wust, who was being honored for her win in the 3,000-meter speedskating race. She bested Russian Olga Graf, who unexpectedly finished third.
Graf became a talking point for Putin and Wust.
"He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia, and I congratulated him on Olga Graf, of course, for her third place" finish, Wust said. "He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again.”
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However, she wanted to reiterate — again — the most important part of their interaction.
“But I cuddled him," she stated.
Surely, the moment of meeting Putin and subsequently “cuddling” with him, which was probably just a brief European hug, wasn’t lost on Wust. Putin's stance on gays has been so highly publicized that Wust's chance to interact with him was probably one that she didn’t want to pass up — and she made the most of their brief time together.
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Although we haven’t seen video or photos yet, here’s hoping someone got some footage for posterity.
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