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Putin congratulates openly gay gold medalist

Putin Congratulates Openly Gay Gold Medalist

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin had just watched his country's ice dance team take Russia's first gold of the Sochi Olympics. What better way to celebrate than by heading to one of the top party venues in town?

Putin headed over to the Holland Heineken House briefly Sunday night and even cozied up to Dutch gold medal winning speedskater Ireen Wust, who was there to be honored by hundreds of fans for her victory earlier in the day in the 3,000-meter race.

"I got a cuddle from him," Wust told Dutch national broadcaster NOS. "He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia and I congratulated him on (Russian speedskater) Olga Graf, of course, for her third place (in the 3,000 meters). He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."

Holland Heineken House is renowned at recent Olympic Games as a great place for a party, drawing thousands of fans with a cocktail of live music, the chance to see a Dutch medal winner and perhaps a couple of beers.

A series of incidents have strained relations between the Netherlands and Russia in recent months, including a diplomat being arrested by police in The Hague and Russia's detention of a Dutch-flagged protest ship and its crew. But there was no sign of any lingering tensions as Putin made his way out of the house and spoke to a reporter in English.

"Fantastic," he said of his brief visit. "Very good. Good people and good results ... good party."

- By Mike Corder - TwitterHTTP://TWITTER.COM/MIKECORDER

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Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: HTTP://APNE.WS/1C3WMIU

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about ourPRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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Jay February 11 2014 at 4:22 AM

Putin supports his people as well as those of other countries. Meanwhile back in Washington Obama hides and plots. It is amazing how far we have fallen.

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Richard February 11 2014 at 4:00 AM

I have to say that while Putin might not be so admired or respected by the West on certain issues, he certainly has most of his nation supporting him. He never hesitates to promote his country in the best light or himself for that matter. Russia needs to fear less from the West in its exploration of democracy and maybe the Olympics will help.

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mark and sheri February 11 2014 at 12:29 AM

Then he asked her if he could watch her and her girlfriend "In Action". After all, most males love to watch Lesbians.

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Erne February 11 2014 at 12:06 AM

Putin speaks with forked tongue!

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meiguosn February 11 2014 at 12:00 AM

Putin is showing the kind of dignified, confident leadership that was John F. Kennedy's style.

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Joebudgie February 10 2014 at 10:34 PM

It might help his image a bit and maybe gain an advertising gig or two if he would substitute the word "hug" for " cuddle".

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The Canoli King February 10 2014 at 10:23 PM

I didn't know Annie Lennox was in the olympics.

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1 reply to The Canoli King's comment
ordobtrebla February 11 2014 at 1:07 AM

She looks like.... "PINK"

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walt.hafer February 10 2014 at 9:23 PM

The picture with the red, white and blue fingernails, she is a spitting double of Jamie Lee Curtis.
Congratulations on the win.

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hattie54 February 10 2014 at 9:05 PM

Congrats to the Dutch on their triple medals again tonight!!Wow,2 medals by identical twins!!! It was fun to watch them with their parents etc.The Americans and Russians were always winning the 500.

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Paul FIQUET February 10 2014 at 8:39 PM

Russia and Putin are doing all they can to make the visitors welcome and happy...let's not drag old soviet Russia cold war back up again and criticize any little inconvenience that is happening or mocking them...let the world see and rejoice at the new Russia and be glad to welcome them all to a better world of peace and brotherhood.

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