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Olympic greats Tretiak, Rodnina light cauldron

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- One of the greatest goaltenders of all time and an innovative figure skater who won three straight Olympic pairs titles lit the cauldron together Friday night at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games.

Vladislav Tretiak and Irina Rodnina were given the honor of sparking the cauldron that will burn throughout Russia's first Winter Olympics.

They were handed the torch by Alina Kabayeva, a former Olympic champion gymnast who has been linked romantically with Russian President Vladimir Putin, although the Kremlin has denied it. Other torchbearers in the final group were wrestling great Alexander Karelin, pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Tretiak was a star goalie on the great Soviet Union hockey teams of the 1970s and `80s, winning gold medals in 1972, 1976 and 1984.

But the Hall of Famer only got silver after his team was upset by the United States in the "Miracle on Ice" in 1980. In the first period of that game, Tretiak allowed two goals, and Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov unexpectedly replaced him with Vladimir Mishkin in an apparent move to shake up his complacent team.

"It was difficult for me to sit on the bench with the score 2-2," Tretiak said at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the 30th anniversary of the upset. "If I played the second and third period, the game might have turned a different way."

Tretiak also was part of 10 world championship Soviet teams.

Rodnina won her three gold medals with two different partners at the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympics. She also won 10 world pairs titles in a row, matching the great Sonja Henie.

She was known for pioneering moves that made her the dominant female pairs skater of her era. After winning the 1972 Olympic title with Alexei Ulanov, she won the following two golds with Alexander Zaitsev.

She moved to the United States in 1990 to work as a coach and guided a Czech pair to a world title. Today she is a member of parliament as a member of Vladimir Putin's United Russia party and an outspoken critic of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

A tweet of Rodnina's from last year - a photo of President Barack Obama doctored to include a banana - drew new attention online Friday. She didn't explain the tweet at the time and later took down the photo, but later defended it with another tweet, saying "Freedom of speech is freedom!"

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
verbal007 February 09 2014 at 6:15 AM

Man,that is funny !

Flag Reply +9 rate up
TEXVOODOO2 February 08 2014 at 10:47 PM

Ohhh the outrage of the left. Funny how they were never offended when liberals said awful things about George W Bush. And look at the terrible things they said about Sarah Palin. So much for the Republicans 'war on women' eh lefties.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
2 replies
hlc2828 TEXVOODOO2 February 08 2014 at 10:54 PM

Liberals never ever said enough bad things about that idiot. They deserrved every slur, every barb given ten fold. Never in history has any POTUS endured such racist comments and demeaning outbursts by elected officiala and just your plauin everyday rednecks comments. So what I'm saying you dont know squat.

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2 replies
draeger24 hlc2828 February 08 2014 at 11:05 PM

I haven't seen Obama hung in effigy like W was....no one cares about his color, only the content of his heart, which is SOCIALIST.....maybe you need to re-read Dr. King's speeches...oh yeah, he was a Republican....

Flag +4 rate up
mike_white41 hlc2828 February 08 2014 at 11:23 PM

Notice when they lie they block the reply? MLK is now a neocon. Give it ten years he'll be white to.

Flag 0 rate up
fliesandlies TEXVOODOO2 February 08 2014 at 11:38 PM

'terrible things about Sarah Palin..." Like she can see Russia from her house....she can't name one newspaper she "reads". You were prepared to put this woman one heart beat away from the presidency?
Like bush's non-existent WMD - and his illegal war that cost us 4500 American Gis and thousands lost limbs ..eyesight sanity because of his and condoleeza's "mushroom cloud". They built their reputation and they own it.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
financemailbox February 08 2014 at 10:47 PM

Freedom of speech in Russia?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
hlc2828 financemailbox February 08 2014 at 10:55 PM

aint that a kick in the head..........

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ga7smi February 08 2014 at 11:33 PM

this is important why?

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2 replies
hyperpak ga7smi February 09 2014 at 12:13 AM

If he is black I would like to learn about his american corn black relatives siblings, cousins, aunts, uncle or any other native born black, He can not because he has none, HE has not lived ab a black man in america ,so get off your high horse and do not call anyone eho critizes a racist. From a grandson of a slave wjo has endured 75+ years of american racial strife.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
hyperpak ga7smi February 09 2014 at 12:18 AM

Sorry about that, it is not for you , but mike_white41

Flag Reply 0 rate up
almasearch February 08 2014 at 11:29 PM

".... A tweet of Rodnina's from last year - a photo of President Barack Obama doctored to include a banana - drew new attention online Friday. She didn't explain the tweet at the time and later took down the photo, ...." The internet is a bit like Las Vegas ("what happens there STAYS there), EXCEPT unlike Las Vegas, it's all there for public scrutiny for forever and ever. tsk tsk...

Flag Reply +3 rate up
stargate9298 February 08 2014 at 7:41 PM

Not worth talking about. Why is it so difficult for people to just enjoy the moment and respect the effort and training of athletes representing so many countries. In the past our country use to see the positive now most only focus on the negative. Now I'll go back to watching the athletes of the world doing what they do best, competing to do their best.... I'd recommend that you all do the same!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
dutz008 February 08 2014 at 6:25 PM

Hey AOL, why do I have to sign in every time I want to write a comment??

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
just4joj dutz008 February 08 2014 at 6:38 PM

Me Too ??????/

Flag Reply 0 rate up
mike_white41 dutz008 February 08 2014 at 7:57 PM

Maybe you two are really stupid?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dorc792 February 09 2014 at 3:04 AM

just dont say ...right turn clyde around michell obaqma...eastwood found out...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
gonro2 February 09 2014 at 1:29 AM

Where's the picture???

Flag Reply +1 rate up
west83jazz February 08 2014 at 11:25 PM

Russia have cameras in the bathrooms in the Olympic's hotels. They can't be trusted.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
BARKINGwolf west83jazz February 09 2014 at 12:10 AM

LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,, and I suppose you trust our government.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
wenhts west83jazz February 09 2014 at 12:15 AM

Russians have toilets that cannot take toilet paper! After 7 yrs of planning and billions of dollars-like i would care what any of them think about our President or anything else.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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