Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Team USA House on Friday at the Sochi Olympics.
Putin’s visit had been kept low-key, and visitors at the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters in the Olympic Park were stunned when he appeared in the early evening. He walked through the house that’s a meeting place for U.S. athletes and their families, and into a courtyard where a reception had been set up in front of a couch with a big blue blanket with a red USOC logo.
Putin arrived at 6:40 p.m. in a black limo with Russian flags. He was met at the door of USA House by USOC chairman Larry Probst, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. There was a toast, a clinking of glasses and then Putin sat down to chat over coffee.
Probst presented Putin with three gift bags, each containing the silver Nike jacket that U.S. athletes wear on the medals podium. Putin also was given the Team USA Valentine’s Day pin, red with six tiny hearts and “Happy Valentine’s Day Team USA” inscribed on it.
President Barack Obama skipped the Sochi Games, and appointed three gay athletes to the U.S. delegation to express his disapproval with Russia’s anti-gay laws that Putin backs.
Putin reportedly “asked U.S. officials on Thursday if he could stop by,” and his security “even tasted the drinks that were to be used – red and white wine, Budweiser beer and water – and sampled the brownies.”
– US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) February 14, 2014
Photo: @jterdimanUSA Twitter