NHL Stars Helped Vladimir Putin Beat a Kids’ Hockey Team
Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin is a propaganda master with a long history of bizarre photo-ops. The resulting media coverage has helped create a cult of personality around the former Soviet spy. Putin is a judo champion, avid outdoorsman and the subject of music videos.
Now he also crushes children at hockey.
To commemorate the first day of school in Russia, Putin formed a scrappy team of hockey players including NHL star athletes Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, who play for the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. Teenagers from the Sirius academy near Sochi toughed it out with Putin and his pro pals for a hard-fought game.
Surprising no one, the Kremlin’s team of all-stars dominated the youths 9–5.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, a U.S. government-funded news agency, took an interest in the match.
In a pep talk, Putin told the students that any victory in life is accompanied by “lots of doubts, mistakes, and failure,” but they should not get discouraged.
“It is only natural. But it is vital not to step back, not to lose heart and never give up,” he said. “A key factor of success is the faith in oneself.”
The low-stakes hockey game comes on the heels of a new workout video released Monday that depicts the 63-year-old man eating steak, awkwardly pumping iron …
… and helping Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev work on his rockin’ form.