Although through his early school years he did not excel academically, Putin would set himself apart through athletic competition, particularly the martial arts disciplines of Sambo and Judo. His mother initially disapproved of her son’s athletic ambitions despite proving himself to be a worthy and skilled competitor in both disciplines.
He would soon garner his parent’s support when one of his coaches came to the Putin household to praise their son’s sporting prowess. His love of Sambo and Judo continues to this day as he still serves as the President of the same Dojo he practiced in while growing up. He is also the first world leader to practice at an advanced level in these sports.
Despite not establishing himself academically in the early years of his school life, Putin would attend a magnet school where his focus was on chemistry.
While not initially covering himself in academic glory, his teachers noted his potential and encouraged him to use the same focus he had for martial arts. By the sixth grade, his refocus saw his grades improve and he was welcomed into the Young Pioneers, the youth group run by the Communist Party, an organization he had been previously rejected from.