When I heard that Maria Sharapova was going to be a torch bearer during the opening ceremonies, I started giving serious thought to including her among the Sochi Olympians. When I saw Alina Kabaeva carrying the torch, I KNEW I was going to do a torch bearer’s special.
Maria is no stranger to Oglympics, having appeared twice during the London games, where she won a silver medal and was the flag bearer for the Russian Federation.
Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the last decade you know Sharapova as a legendary tennis star. What you may not know is that she’s a native of Sochii, having lived there before she moved to the US as a youngster. Maria does remain connected with her hometown returning often to vacation there in the summers.
Maria photo gallery:
Alina Kabeva is a 30 year old two time Olympic rhythm gymnast (one gold, one bronze). She’s also medaled 14 times at the world championships and 25 times at the European championships. She retired from competition in 2007.
She’s a strikingly beautiful athlete but what makes her story particularly interesting is that she is Vladimir Putin’s longtime mistress/girlfriend. She has two children who are rumored to be fathered by Putin. That makes her selection as a torch bearer particularly interesting.
Alina photo gallery
Yelina is a two time Olympic gold medal winning pole vaulter and three time world champion. She is arguably considered the greatest female pole vaulter in history.