Along with his reputation as an iron-fisted leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin is known to be an avid sportsman with a longtime love of judo, the Japanese martial art.

Images of the Russian leader engaging in feats of athletic prowess and daring appear frequently, shoring up his image as a man of action. 

Putin has a black belt in judo.

Russia Vladimir Putin does judo in Sochi on Jan 8 2016

Putin, who holds a black belt in judo, puts a national team member to the mat in Sochi on Jan. 8, 2016. (Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin/Reuters)

He regularly plays hockey in a Sochi night league.

Super Putin Russian President scores hockey game Oct 7 2015

In October, Putin celebrated his birthday with a hockey game during which the 63-year-old led his team (which included retired NHL players Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny) in scoring with seven goals. (Elexey Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/EPA)

He and and the prime minister pump iron between meetings.

RUSSIA-Super PUTIN Dmitry Medvedev Aug 30 2015 work out

In August 2015, Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev take an exercise break at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence, in Sochi, pumping iron. (Yekaterina Shtukina/RIA Novosti/Reuters)

Putin's busy summer included an expedition in the Black Sea. 


Putin appears at the helm of a research bathyscaphe before it submerges near Sevastopol, Crimea, in August. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters)

Add archeological discoveries to his resumé.

Treasure diver

Putin displays some ancient Greek artifacts purportedly discovered while diving in southern Russia in 2011. (Alexei Druzhinin/Getty)

He's cool with cats. 

Super Putin leopard

Russia's leader visited the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre in Sochi in February 2014, where he shared a moment with this Persian leopard cub. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters)

And has an eye for the birds.

Saving cranes

Flying an ultralight aircraft, Putin led a flock of captive-bred endangered Siberian cranes on their migration route to Central Asia in 2012. (Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters)

He could tell a few fish stories.

Angler Putin

On a trip to Siberia in 2013, Putin posed with a pike reportedly weighing 21 kilograms that he was said to have landed. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters)

Siberian summers get hot. 

RUSSIA Vladimir Putin goes fishing shirtless in Siberia July 2013

A bare-chested Putin casts his line in the Tuva region of Siberia. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters)

Putin goes hunting shirtless in Siberia in 2007

Putin has visited Siberia's Tuva area numerous times, including on this hunting trip in 2007. (RIA Novosti/Reuters)

Siberian traveller

Putin takes to horseback in the southern Siberian town of Kyzyl, where he is known to spend his summer vacations. (Alexei Druzhinin/Getty)

It's no surprise the ex-KGB agent is a good shot.


Putin aims at a target with a replica AK-47 rifle in a shooting gallery in Moscow in 2012. (Alexei Druzhinin/Government Press Service/Associated Press)

Super Valdimir Putin RUSSIA shooting range Nov 2006

Putin tries out a new shooting range at the GRU military intelligence headquarters, in Moscow in 2006. (Presidential Press Service/Reuters)

Taking aim

Putin fires a crossbow-like tool at a whale in 2010. It was part of a scientific mission to take skin samples for analysis. (Alexei Druzhinin/Getty)

Time to suit up for a Formula One drive.

Test drive

Putin prepares to test drive a car belonging to the Renault Formula One team in St. Petersburg in 2010. (Alexei Druzhinin/Getty)

A firm hand on the stick guides a water bomber.

Water bomber

Putin takes to the air in a waterbombing plane to join the firefighting effort against wildfires in the Rayzan region in 2010. (Alexei Nikolsky/Getty)

On the road with bikers.

Motorbike meeting

Before Russia's annexation of Crimea, Putin took part in a solidarity motorcycle ride with Russian and Ukrainian club members in 2010. Putin's ride is a three-wheeler, however. (Sergei Karpukhin/Getty)

With files from The Associated Press