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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 THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.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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lgoldst963 February 10 2014 at 2:24 PM

Why do we imagine that just because Putin--or anyone else--is philosophically opposed to one's life choices, such as sexual orientation, that that means the person will necessarily be dissed, hated or rejected by the person in disagreement. Is Wust her sexual orientation first or a human first? Is she a gay person first or a top elite athletic warrior and winner first? Shall she be hated by Putin for her sexual orientation or applauded and respected for her obvious athletic prowess? It becomes a news story because he was kind to her--and didn't spurn her for her sexuality. Interesting. That assumes we live in a world where we lead with our separation and hatred for other people's choices and cannot see beyond those differences. Hopefully we can do better than that as we live in a world of diversity....yet, we are all members of humanity.....just sayin'....

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Larna J. Keane; February 10 2014 at 3:30 PM

Maybe Mr. Putin didn't know.......or he was just glad for the limelight......all the gay comments.....she/he? looked pleased. I guess that feeling was earned, having won the Gold.

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gtp81646 February 10 2014 at 2:54 PM

The Olimpics are supposed to be about conpetative sports events. Not politics, GAY Movements , race, women and current events. Can't gays just shut the hell up and and put the sports first.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
fobesq February 10 2014 at 3:58 PM

Aside from all the cynicism and negatives, the Russians deserve a lot of gratitude and admiration for hosting these wonderful Olympics. From me, to Russia, with love.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
pmurrayr February 10 2014 at 1:23 PM

If being gay is a mistake then God has a lot to answer for.... what other mistakes has he made?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
JazzMaTazzMaTazz February 10 2014 at 1:22 PM

An "openly gold gay medalist."

Classic headline.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jamiebell89 February 10 2014 at 1:21 PM

You need to switch the words "gold" and "gay" in the headline.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jleamer February 10 2014 at 1:17 PM

WhatA CROCK of Predetermined, startegically planned, opportunistic, PR!!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
keithm940 jleamer February 10 2014 at 2:01 PM

Yep.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
mspine7864 February 10 2014 at 4:16 PM

shame on NBC..Matt,Lester, Al, etc..are not the talent at the olympics..it's the athletes folks, so tune in to CBMT tv in Canada to get a complete view of the olympics !!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
queencelt February 10 2014 at 1:15 PM

"openly gold gay medalist" - really?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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