Russian President Vladimir Putin's art of the photo op

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has carefully cultivated a macho image for years with a series of photo ops including taking a dip in icy waters, riding shirtless on horseback, throwing opponents on the judo mat, freeing tigers into the wild and swimming butterfly stroke in a river.

Let's take a look:

Horse riding

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has in the past presented himself sitting proud, bare-chested on a horse, but on Friday he admitted to taking a fall.

“They were once filming me, I was training, and it happened that the horse stopped in front of a barrier and I did a somersault, literally a somersault,” Putin was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency on Friday.


Skinny dipping

The 68-year-old who has been in power in Russia for more than two decades as president or prime minister took a dip in icy waters in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at lake Seliger, Tver region.



Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a black belt in judo, is a one-time judo champion in his native city of St Petersburg.



Animal lover

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a five-year-old tiger's head as scientists put on a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in the academy of sciences Ussuri reserve in Russia's Far East August 31, 2008.


Sharp shooter

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with a gun at a shooting gallery in the new GRU military intelligence headquarters building as he visits it in Moscow.

He hit four out of five targets at 50 meters (yards) when he shot a special rifle for visually impaired people which makes a noise when aimed correctly.



Russia's President Vladimir Putin is seen through the glass of C-Explorer 5 submersible after a dive to see the remains of the naval frigate "Oleg", which sank in the 19th century, in the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea.


Sports enthusiast

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (R) play an ice hockey game at Shayba Arena in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia.


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