Steven Seagal Joins Putin to Push Sports Programs in Russia

Attempts to revive a Soviet physical education system


As he often likes to do, Vladimir Putin hobnobbed with a Hollywood celebrity – macho actor Steven Seagal – Wednesday.

The two opened a Moscow martial arts center and Mr. Putin rolled out his plan to reinstate a Soviet-era mass sports program designed to make Russian youngsters more healthy, active, and fit for military service.

After touring Moscow's huge new Sambo-70 sports school (sambo is a mixture of judo and wrestling) accompanied by a black-clad Mr. Seagal, Putin said that something drastic had to be done about the health of Russia's children, two-thirds of whom, he said, suffer from chronic illnesses by the age of 14.