Putin Surprises Team USA With a Visit

The visit was cordial, the USOC says

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Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird, Russian President Vladimir Putin visit USA House in the Olympic Village on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin stopped by the U.S. Olympic Committee’s headquarters on Friday.

Many assumed Putin would hold a grudge against the U.S. team after Obama included several openly gay retired athletes as ambassadors for America’s delegation to the Sochi games and decided not to attend himself. (This is the first time in over a decade that neither the President, Vice President or First Lady has been on the U.S. Olympic delegation.) But USOC CEO Scott Blackman told USA Today that Putin didn’t talk politics during his visit. Instead, he wanted to make sure that the athletes were happy with the venues at the Sochi Games.

Putin drank wine and laughed during the visit, and the USOC offered him one of the silver Team USA jackets athletes wear on the podium as well as a Valentine’s Day pin.

Canada also got a surprise visit from Putin Friday, according to CTV News. The President of Russia wished Team Canada luck in all sports — except hockey.

[USA Today]