Alina Kabaeva, a retired rhythmic gymnast and politician who is the rumored lover of Russian President Vladimir Putin, might light the Olympic Torch at the opening ceremonies in Sochi.
Putin, who divorced his wife Lyudmila last year, dismissed the rumors while speaking with reporters at a nature reserve above Sochi earlier in the week, News.com.au reported
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"I'm aware of this (the speculation), I was told of this by (Kremlin spokesman) Dmitry Peskov. These are the usual red herrings," Putin said. "We have many outstanding sportspeople who are significant and known in the whole world and I am not going to interfere in this process."
Whoever is selected to light the torch will be chosen by the Sochi Olympic Games Organizing Committee.
Apparently referring to the committee, Putin added, "I do not represent winter sports, I am just a fan."
Despite the Olympic Games already being underway, the opening ceremony torch lighting is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. Moscow-time which will be 11 a.m. EST. The event, however, will not be aired in the United States until 7:30 p.m. EST. by NBC Sports, the official carrier of the Sochi Olympics.
Both Putin, 61, and Kabaeva, 30, have always denied the allegations of a relationship, which according to some media sources allegedly began before the Russian president had divorced his wife.
The flexible, Olympic Gold Medalist, who in the January 2011 issue of Russia's Vogue magazine was featured on the cover, won a Bronze Medal in the rhythmic gymnastics at the Sydney Games in 2000 and a Gold Medal four years later at Athens.
In 2009, Kabaeva gave birth to a baby boy named Dimitry, who was rumored to have been Putin's lovechild, according to reports in both by the Daily Mail
and the New York Post
In an April 2008 press conference, Putin denied the rumor saying, "there is not a single word of truth [in it]," the International Herald Tribune reported
Kabaeva is currently serving in the Duma, the Russian parliament, as part of Putin’s political party.
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