Gymnast rumored linked to Putin leaves parliament

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MOSCOW (AP) — Alina Kabayeva, the Olympic gold gymnast whose relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin is the subject of wide speculation, is resigning from her seat in the national parliament.

Russian news reports say Kabayeva on Monday asked to step down in order to undertake other unspecified work.

Kabayeva, who won Olympic gold in rhythmic gymnastics in 2004, has been a member of the State Duma since 2007, representing United Russia, the party that is Putin's power base.

Reports of a romantic relationship between Putin and Kabayeva began in 2008 and have persisted, despite Kremlin denials and no-comments. Putin announced in 2013 that he and his wife Lyudmila were divorcing.

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