President Vladimir Putin "cuddled" the first openly gay gold medalist at the Sochi Olympics. Putin is receiving heavy backlash from gay activists because of a Russian law forbidding people from sharing "gay propaganda" with minors, but that didn't stop him from showing Dutch gold medalist Ireen Wust affection at a party, reports ABC.
Wust, a speedskater who won the gold metal at the 3,000 meter women's speedskate on Sunday told Dutch national broadcaster NOS, "I got a cuddle from him ... He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia and I congratulated him on (Russian speedskater) Olga Graf, of course, for her third place (in the 3,000 meters). He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."
A spokesman for Netherlands' Olympics Committee confirmed to ABC that Putin congratulated Wust and gave her a hug. Wust is one of the Olympics' seven out gay athletes. The move comes amidst protests around the world (including a Google Doodle) against the allegedly homophobic law, though openly gay ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria told the AP that she does not believe the protests are effective. She said Sunday, "I don't think it's a good idea to make protests here, no one cares ... I know Russia will go and make the right steps in the future and we should give them time."