Putin's rumored girlfriend Alina Kabayeva

If current speculation is to be believed, Alina Kabayeva, long rumored to be Vladimir Putin's girlfriend, is a contender to light the Olympic flame at the Sochi Opening Ceremony. Kabayeva, 30, is an Olympic medal-winning rhythmic gymnast who retired from the sport in 2007 to become a member of the State Duma, aka the Russian parliament. Putin and Kabaeva have always denied a romance, but there's no doubt that any appearance by her at the Winter Games will stir up controversy.

Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva

President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with gymnast Alina Kabaeva as he hosts Russia's Olympic athletes at a Kremlin banquet in Moscow on November 4, 2004. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Presidential Press Service)

Alina Kabayeva

Alina Kabayeva arrives at the Laureus World Sports Awards at the Mariinsky Concert Hall on February 18, 2008 in St.Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Alina Kabayeva

Alina Kabayeva attends the Laureus World Sports Awards 2008 held at the Mariinsky Theatre on February 18, 2008 in St Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)

Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabayeva

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Russian gymnasts Alina Kabayeva (C) and Svetlana Khorkina (L) during a meeting with candidates to the Russian Olympic team for 2004 Summer Olympics at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow on March 10, 2004. (Pool AS/Reuters)

Alina Kabaeva

Russia's Alina Kabaeva performs her individual routine with a hoop in the rhythmic gymnastics all-around qualifications at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games on August 26, 2004. (Paul Hanna PH/JS/Reuters)

Alina Kabaeva

Russian politician and former Olympic Champion, Alina Kabaeva, applauds as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (not pictured) delivers his speech at the congress of the United Russia Party November, 27, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Alina Kabaeva

Alina Kabaeva of Russia in action during the Rhythmic Gymnastics in Pavilion 3 of the Sydney Showground on Day 13 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. (Gary M Prior/Allsport)

Alina Kabaeva

Russian politician and former Olympic Champion, Alina Kabaeva, smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (not pictured) delivers his speech at the congress of the United Russia Party on November 27, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Alina Kabaeva

Gold medal winner Alina Kabaeva of Russia during the medal ceremony for rhythmic gymnastics on August 29, 2004 during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Alina Kabayeva

Russian gymnast Alina Kabayeva arrives for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg on February 18, 2008. (Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters)

Alina Kabayeva

Former World and Olympic champion Russian gymnast Alina Kabayeva takes her seat before the first meeting of a new representative and consultative body, the Public Chamber, at the Grand Kremlin Palace's St. George's hall in Moscow on January 22, 2006. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

Alina Kabaeva

Alina Kabaeva of Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics individual finals on August 29, 2004 during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Alina Kabaeva

Alina Kabaeva competing in Karlsruhe, Germany on April 8, 2000. (Photo by Holde Schneider/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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