SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Canadian long-track speed skater Brittany Schussler is in a pile of trouble after finishing 26th -- right after posting a selfie with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin has faced a barrage of bad press over Russia's anti-LGBT laws and its poor preparation for the Olympics despite spending record sums.
But the Russian strongman received an apparently warm welcome from Canadian athletes and officials when he toured their facilities in Sochi on Friday. Most of the anger was directed at Schussler, who took a photo with Putin and posted it to her Twitter account.
"I should have asked him to be my valentine!" she wrote, in the tweet, which has since been deleted.
Many who responded to her tweet said they found the photo to be in poor taste and inappropriate.
@bschussler We paid for you to represent Canada in sports not fawn over a ruthless dictator in your "brush with greatness."— Elinor Mahoney (@EG_Mahoney) February 15, 2014
@bschussler it's a shame that Joseph Stalin isn't around. Am I right?!— Jeremy Foreshew (@jeremyforeshew) February 15, 2014
@bschussler Shame on u for mugging with Putin. Don't u know that he has taken rights away from gays & contributed to violence against gays?— Doug Kerr (@douglaskerr) February 15, 2014
.@bschussler But Putin can't be your Valentine! He's too busy drafting legislation to separate lesbian moms from their children.— Scott Dagostino (@scottdagostino) February 15, 2014
Schussler attempted to defend her actions, calling the picture and tweet a joke, and said she "in no way want to be misconstrued as supporting his values."
.@WinnipegNews I see you put up my tweet pic w/ Putin. To be clear I was joking + in no way want to be misconstrued as supporting his values— Brittany Schussler (@bschussler) February 15, 2014