SOCHI, Russia (AP) -
In a powerful symbol of international sports detente, Russian President Vladimir Putin dropped in on U.S. Olympic headquarters Friday to chat about the Winter Games and the upcoming Russia-U.S. hockey showdown.
He even wore a red "Happy Valentine's Day from Team USA" pin on his lapel.
Putin spent about half an hour at USA House in Sochi's Olympic Park, sitting on a couch talking with U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun. From there, he made a stop at Canada House next door.
"Putin was very gracious," Blackmun told The Associated Press. "What I would remember is it sends a strong message about the importance of sport to Russia."
The Russian leader looked relaxed, wearing a dark jacket with an open-collar light blue shirt. He had a glass of red wine as he asked the Americans about their experience in Sochi so far.
"We talked about mostly our impression of the games," Blackmun said. "He was very interested in knowing what we thought about the level of infrastructure, the level of services. ... We complimented him on the great operations so far." To read more on this story, click here.