Russian President Vladimir Putin did his best to defuse tensions when he visited with American representatives and athletes at the Team USA House in Sochi on Friday.
According to USA Today's Nancy Armour, Putin arrived at the USA House—used as a meeting place for U.S. athletes and their families—around 6:40 p.m. local time and was greeted by U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst, among others.
Putin's visit came as a surprise to many, especially considering the strained relationship between the two nations. Tensions increased ahead of the Games following President Barack Obama's decision to skip the Olympics and appoint three openly gay athletes (Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow) to anchor the U.S. delegation.
Many believe Obama's move was made in an effort to condemn Russia's anti-gay propaganda law. According to Armour, the decision was also met with chagrin by International Olympic Committee members, who prefer politics be left out of the two-week event.
During his visit, Putin toured the USA House and enjoyed coffee, wine and conversation. Armour reported that he was also presented a trio of gift bags, including Team USA apparel and an official Valentine's Day pin.
Unsurprisingly, security was ultra tight during the 61-year-old's stay.
Although Putin's surprise Valentine's Day visit is one of the bright spots of these Olympics, it remains to be seen what, if any, impact it will have on the Games and the relationship between America and Russia moving forward.
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