Coverage of Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Putin's rumored girlfriend Alina Kabayeva

Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva

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If current speculation is to be believed, Alina Kabayeva, long rumored to be Vladimir Putin's girlfriend, is a contender to light the Olympic flame at the Sochi Opening Ceremony. Kabayeva, 30, is an Olympic medal-winning rhythmic gymnast who retired from the sport in 2007 to become a member of the State Duma, aka the Russian parliament. Putin and Kabaeva have always denied a romance, but there's no doubt that any appearance by her at the Winter Games will stir up controversy.

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