Today: Last Update:

  • Putin Takes Judo Coach Ezio Gamba To The Mat


    (ATR) Russian President Vladimir Putin shows off his skill as a judoka after taking veteran coach Ezio Gamba to the mat in Sochi.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) tussles with Ezio Gamba (Getty Images)
    Russian state television last week aired a video of black-belted Putin throwing members of the national judo team to the ground during a training session.

    Putin and Gamba also faced off during the demonstration.

    To commemorate the Italian coach's career at the helm of the Russian judo team, Putin granted Gamba a Russian passport.

    Speaking with reporters, Putin said Gamba led the Russian judo team to "surprising results and remarkable success" in the Olympic Games.

    Russia led the judo medal count in the 2012 Olympics with three golds, one silver and one bronze.

    Putin gave Gamba a Russian passport to commemorate his time spent coaching the Russian judo team (Getty Images)
    Putin's scuffle with Gamba is one of several activities that paint a tough-guy picture of the Russian President.

    He often touts his physical fitness in the media with images of him playing ice-hockey, exercising in the gym, riding horses, diving to the bottom of the Black Sea and flying with cranes.

    In the lead up to the Sochi Olympics, Putin played with members of the Russian Amateur Ice Hockey League during a training session in Dec. 2014.

    For his 63rd birthday last October, Putin played a celebratory hockey game alongside National Hockey League legends including Pavel Bure and Vyacheslav Fetisov. An obliging defense allowed Putin to score seven goals.

    See Putin spar with the Russian judo team below:

    Written by Nicole Bennett

    Video credit: YouTube/Russia Today

    For general comments or questions, click here.

    20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.