It is a little-known fact that in childhood Vladimir Putin had an aversion to Russian traditional music. His father loved the bayan very much and made young Vladimir play some of his (Putin, Sr.’s) favorite pieces to him. Perhaps that’s why the future president took up
Vladimir Putin began judo classes when he was just eleven. ”When he started training, he didn’t have any talents and didn’t stand out among other students. But with time, he showed impressive results. On the mat, Vladimir was a panther, fighting until the last second,” Rakhlin recalled. Putin’s trademark moves were a throw over the back and a throw while grabbing both of his opponent’s hands
Young Vladimir Putin in judo class.Global Look Press
Besides judo, Putin excels at several other martial arts, including karate. In the Kyokushin karate school, Vladimir Putin holds the 8th dan (rank).
Mountain skiing became another of Vladimir Putin’s favorite sports. His personal coach is Leonid Tyagachev, former president of the Russian Olympic Committee and himself a famous downhill skier.
“Vladimir Putin didn’t go through the usual training course. In the beginning, he kept making the same mistakes. But in two years, we improved his technique. Now it’s solid and he always descends at a very high speed,” Tyagachev says. “We trained at night, on electric-lit courses,” he adds. “Usually we started at midnight and finished by 1 or 2 in the morning. We still train at night frequently.”
Trainers say Putin’s technique is far better than that of the average amateur, but he still has some minor mistakes. But these do not spoil the sheer pleasure of shooting down the piste.
Famous Russian hockey player and several-time World Cup winner Alexey Kasatonov became Putin’s coach. They practiced at night, just like with skiing. “I had a talk with a 12-year old boy, and he spent nine years practicing. I spent just two months. I learned to skate holding a chair! And before, I didn’t ever skate, I couldn’t even stand on the skates,” Putin confessed.
By April 2011, Putin had learned to skate and play
George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin and a Zaporozhets carReuters
Vladimir Putin’s first car was a clumsy (and unpronounceable) Zaporozhets that his parents won in a lottery. As president, Vladimir Putin switched to more substantial rides, often with a patriotic feel
Vladimir Putin in a Lada KalinaReuters
In 2010, Putin drove a brand new Lada Kalina on a four-day 2,000-km road trip across Russia’s
As for sports driving, Putin can do this too. In 2010, he took a ride in a Formula 1 car, accelerating to 240 km/h.
Vladimir Putin with ancient Greek amphorae after his dive into the Taman BayReuters
During his holidays, Vladimir Putin seldom goes diving. In 2011, he dived to the bottom of the Taman Bay to view the so-called "Russian Atlantis," the submerged part of the ancient Greek city of Phanagoria on the Taman Peninsula. It was only his second ever dive, Putin let it be known
Putin after a Volga diveAleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik
Vladimir Putin on a hike in Tuva.Aleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik
It is also in Tuva where Vladimir Putin is fond of hiking. The region happens to be the birthplace of Sergey Shoygu, Russian Minister of Defense. Accompanied by Shoygu and FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov, Vladimir Putin spent a few relaxing days there in August 2018
Emperor Alexander III once famously remarked
Vladimir Putin and the famous 21-kilogram pikeAleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik
Tuva is also one of Putin’s favorite fishing spots. In 2013, he caught a 21-kilogram pike, so huge that it took the physically fit president a full three minutes to pull it out of the water. In August 2017, the president had an especially entertaining fishing session during which he spearfished for pike for two hours straight. "They’re so cunning and careful, they are fast to dive into the mud at the bottom,” Putin said about the local pikes before switching to rod-fishing for perch. In his opinion, Russia is the best place for fishing. “Frankly, I have to say that for me the best fishing in the world is to be had in Murmansk Region and the Volga Delta in Astrakhan Region,” Putin explained.
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