a fascinating tidbit from this article from the moscow times about how the prevalence of smoking in russia is hindering efforts to promote sports is that putin is a black-belt in judo. as we all remember from the great pretzel scare, our president has a lower-than-normal heart rate because he runs regularly. but does he know kung-fu? (doubtful: this article says the last american president schooled in the martial arts was teddy roosevelt, the first american brown-belt in judo.) maybe russia is still more of a super-power than we've been lead to believe.

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