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Gymnast Rumored To Be Linked To Putin Leaves Duma

A Russian State Duma deputy and Olympic gold medalist whose relationship with President Vladimir Putin has caused wide speculation has resigned from the lower house of parliament.

Alina Kabayeva, who won a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics in 2006, said she was leaving the Duma to do other unspecified work.

Kabayeva, 31, has been a Duma deputy under the ruling United Russia party since she retired from gymnastics in 2007.

Reports of a romantic relationship between Putin and Kabayeva began in 2008 and have continued despite several denials and "no-comments" from her and Kremlin officials.

Kabayeva played a big role in the ceremony to light the torch at the Sochi Winter Olympics in February.

Putin and his wife Lyudmila divorced earlier this year.

Based on reporting by AP and "The Moscow Times"