Moscow: 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, he scored 10, according to Russian state media.
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 line-up includes a number of former NHL players and Defence 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.