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Putin on Ice

Putin greets hockey players in Sochi on May 10, 2016. Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

With a presidential election less than a year away, it’s that time again, when Vladimir Putin’s public appearances increasingly seem bent on reminding us that, yes, the Russian president is a star athlete with manliness to spare.

This weekend, after visiting the Sochi circuit of the Formula One World Championship, Putin stopped by the Shayba Arena — the city’s $35-million Olympic Park venue — for a special game of ice hockey.

The president accepted an invitation from Jean-Claude Killy, the former French alpine ski racer and honorary International Olympic Committee member who now spends his days lecturing to Russian students at the Sirius School for the Gifted (a Kremlin-connected institution that has inherited much of Sochi’s Olympic infrastructure).

In between scoring goals on opponents who were definitely trying, Putin met with Elena Shmeleva, the founder of Sirius, to discuss the school’s future development of Sochi’s Olympic legacy.

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