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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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Bonnie February 12 2014 at 1:04 AM

I think the picture is hilarious! He is the worst prez we have ever had,,,he even makes Carter look good! He is a devil who is destroying our country and kudos to Rodnina for posting what most people think but are afraid to say.

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vmasutti February 09 2014 at 9:43 PM

No amount of athletic prowess can give you class or education

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AOL White Voice February 09 2014 at 12:59 PM

I feel bad for both Bill Clinton and Obama! If I had to go home and get in bed with Hillary or Michelle, I would find me a Monica to shack up with too. They win the prize for being ugly white and black ladies to ever live in the Whitehouse. I guess some men are built to love ugly too!

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AT EASE SOLDIER February 09 2014 at 9:09 AM

Judging by the comments and the likes I see all the racist cowards still cling to the anonymity of the AOL chat board now that HuffPo makes you use your name.

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Bill February 09 2014 at 9:04 AM

The only thing wrong with this picture is that it is not on 100,000 billboards around the country. It would brighten up peoples day & give us all a good laugh!

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Tom Harrell February 09 2014 at 7:02 AM

Gotta Love all the Foreigners coming to America and getting RICH off of OUR Freedoms and taking advantage of all the Opportunities that WE pay for by our Service and Sacrifices and THEN Badmouthing our way of life and Disrespecting our Laws and Traditions.

Her and PUTIN deserve an Honorary Membership in the KuKluxKlan(ovich)

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1 reply to Tom Harrell's comment
Damien G. Bartee February 09 2014 at 9:40 AM

FREEDOMS? roflmfao WHAT ROCK ARE YOU LIVING UNDER? POLICE IN THIS COUNTRY CAN BEAT YOU FOR BEING HOMELESS AND DO IT SO BADLY THAT IT TAKES YOU THREE DAYS TO DIE. THEN WALK AWAY FREE MEN. THE ONLY FREE AMERICANS ARE THE ONES WHO LIVE ON THEIR PRIVATE ESTATES OUT OF COUNTRY AND PULL THE STRINGS AND THEIR ENFORCERS BY UMBRELLA. By the time people like you wake up it will be kneeling over a mass grave with your fingers laced behind your head. Enjoy!

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verbal007 February 09 2014 at 6:15 AM

Man,that is funny !

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Judy Lynn February 09 2014 at 6:14 AM

This is not news this is a display of ignorance when will people get it. She is too ignorant to know her nationality is probably looked at less than a African American by the Superior ones. I surely hope no one is offended by her ignorance.

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3 replies to Judy Lynn's comment
Deborah February 09 2014 at 6:13 AM

Poliotical humor is fine, its freedom of speech. he doesn't respect anyone so why would anyone respect him? BTW? he does look like a monkey with those ears and Michelle looks like a Planet of the Apes woman. Unfortunately it is true everyone thinks it, she had the nerve to post it. After Obama spit in the face of Putin a few times he got what he deserved. Shes a loyal member of his party, deal with it.

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creativeminds916 February 09 2014 at 6:01 AM

very tasteless....

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1 reply to creativeminds916's comment
Deborah February 09 2014 at 6:27 AM

Why? Raw perhaps but certainly not anything we haven't seen from the left with Bush.I for one think she is simply doing what many people think. No respect for him and it shows. He doesn't do anything to change the World's opinion of him.

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