Russian President Vladimir Putin once lectured America about exceptionalism, but he cannot stop himself from showing off his exceptional athletic abilities. This time, Putin managed to score eight goals in a hockey game.
The 62-year-old president participated in an all-star hockey game in Sochi alongside former NHL legends, including Pavel Bure. Putin’s team won, of course, 18-6. Ironically, or not, Putin scored six goals almost exactly a year ago.
The game shows the growing cult of personality that surrounds Putin. It definitely evokes the cult around Kim Jong-un in North Korea. As Mashable points out the North Korean tyrant recently climbed, or claimed to climb, the country’s highest peak.
Putin’s cult centers on physical abilities and photo ops to show them off. He earned his eighth-degree black belt in karate in 2014. As prime minister, he jumped on a rubber boat and shot a “whale with a special arrow designed to collect skin samples.” As soon as the adventure was over he went straight to the reporters. In 2012, he put on white overalls and goggles and then jumped on a hang glider to help migrate endangered cranes to Iran and India. Yes, the man helped birds migrate for the winter.
The man even saved a television crew from tigers! He visited an Ussuri reserve in Siberia when he noticed a tiger heading towards the crew. He shot the tiger with a tranquilizer gun. One time he went, with a photographer in tow, into the jungle to help put a satellite transmitter into the neck of a tiger.
The Russian leader supposedly discovered ancient Greek artifacts in the Black Sea. However, his spokesman admitted that archaeologists planted them in shallow water so Putin could “discover” them. He once placed an electric monitoring collar around a polar bear in the Arctic. In 2010, he went out with scientists and found evidence of man-made global warming. He also assisted scientists when he attached a tracking tag on a beluga whale.
Putin works hard to remain a physical force within Russia. A recent documentary titled “Putin the Man” states that Putin fears growing old and resorted to cosmetic surgery to appear youthful. He also enjoys “hot and cold baths, followed by gym sessions to hone his macho physique.” Putin eats cottage cheese for dinner to maintain his build, sleeps in, and prefers to work in the afternoon, the documentary claims. This causes major problems with other world leaders since he often arrives late for appointments. He once kept Queen Elizabeth II waiting for half an hour.
With six goals in 2014 and eight in 2015, Putin appears on a trajectory to score ten times in next year’s game—that’s if an urgent hang-gliding mission or the need to tranquilize a dangerous jungle cat doesn’t keep him off the ice.