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Putin's great day on the ice winds up with a faceplant

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrates his goal during an ice hockey game at Bolshoi Arena in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Friday, May 10, 2019.

MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV, SPUTNIK, KREMLIN POOL/ AP

By SIOBHÁN O'GRADY | The Washington Post | Published: May 11, 2019

When Russian President Vladimir Putin plays hockey, he tends to do quite well. Last year, he scored five goals during a televised exhibition game.

This year, according to Russian state media, he scored 10, although The Associated Press reported that he scored only eight.

But regardless of the final count, things took a turn for the worse after his stellar performance on Friday when the 66-year-old took a spin around the rink after the game to wave to his fans – and missed a red carpet that had been laid out on the ice. When his skates hit it, he tripped and fell flat on his face in front of a crowd of spectators.

Luckily, with the help of a teammate, Putin made a quick recovery.

The Russian leader, as he has the past few years, played with a team known as "Legends" on Friday. The squad's lineup includes a number of former NHL players and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who scored three goals this year. They faced off against a team of Russian politicians and business executives.

Back home, Putin's goal count will probably get more attention than his slip-up. In recent years, the Kremlin has branded Putin as a macho outdoorsman and athlete, releasing photos of him shirtless, fishing and working out.

This isn't the first time he's fallen on ice, however. He took a tumble in 2016, during a game in which he scored only one goal and offered two assists. But he has branded himself as a standout hockey player for years. In 2012, he took to the ice for a game mere hours after his inauguration – and scored the winning goal.
 

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