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Bisexual Dutch Olympic winner cuddles with Putin

Could it be that an openly bisexual athlete be the one to cool Russian President Vladimir Putin and his hardline stance toward LGBT folk?

Irene Wust of the Netherlands. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Irene Wust of the Netherlands. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands is openly bisexual
Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

That may be the case after Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust had a short moment (a "cuddle" she says) with Putin after her Olympic win.

While in Sochi, she told ABC News and other press outlets that she got a surprise hug from the president, who has signed onto restrictive anti-gay laws in Russia.

Wust is open as bisexual—many media outlets incorrectly referred to her as lesbian, and then they were forced to retract their characterization and use the "b word." She is now in a relationship with a man.

Wust beat out Russian speedskater Olga Graf in the 3,000-meters race, and jokingly took a bite out of the gold medal she won in the race. She also took the stage two other times winning silver medals in Speedskating the 1,500-meter and 1,000-meter races. (She has one more race, the 5,000-meter, coming up on Feb. 19.) She met Putin and told the press about it afterward.

"He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia and I congratulated him on Olga Graf, of course, for her third place. He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."

Putin seemed to back off his harsh stand during the games, and there have been no incidents regarding the anti-gay law so far at the Olympic games.

She originally came out in a Dutch magazine in 2009 as having a relationship with a woman, and then criticized the media for making such a big deal about it. She says she didn't want to be a poster child for LGBT athletes. Indeed, when she first came out, she said she was surprised she fell in love with a woman, and always saw herself with a husband and children.

She said at the time:

"Will you then be known as Ireen the speedskater or Ireen who has a girlfriend? That was a struggle."

She initially didn't want to get involved in political statement about Putin or the Russian law, saying it is a "political thing that should be discussed by politicians. I'm just there to skate very fast. I can't do anything about it, and I won't. As if a well-known Dutch person can change the situation in Russia!"

Maybe not, but thank goodness she's an out and proud bisexual!

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