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See Ya' at the Quad, Vlad

Cold Front
posted: 02/04/2004
by Sam VanDerlip

When Boris Yeltsin, a tennis buff, became president of Russia in 1991, the masses grabbed their rackets. The number of tournaments jumped 400 percent from the Evil Empire days, and the country led an international tennis boom. But current president Vladimir Putin's a skier. And thanks to his citizens' love for mimicking their leaders, skiing is now Russia's hot sport: Participation is growing by 20 percent per year, according to the Russian Association of Tourist Agencies. Cabinet members are hitting the slopes en masse. And chairlifts are popping up within Moscow city limits. Of course, non-Russians don't typically practice worship through sport (imagine Americans and their pooches chasing armadillos through Texas), but there are plenty of other world leaders hitting the pistes. Click on the slide show for a roundup of statesmen who like a powder day as much every other guy named Vladimir-even if their countrymen don't know it.

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