Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin made Obama's list of great Russian contributors to the world, along with scientists, cosmonauts and pioneers of literature such as Pushkin.
"As a resident of Washington D.C., I continue to benefit from the contributions of Russians -- specifically, from Alexander Ovechkin. I'm very pleased to have him in Washington D.C." Obama said Tuesday during a speech to the graduating class at the New Economic School in Moscow.
Ovechkin won his second consecutive Hart Trophy as the League MVP in 2008-09 -- becoming the first repeat winner since Dominik Hasek in 1997-98 -- and took the Caps to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in seven games.
He will also be an "official ambassador" for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, organizers said Monday. He played for Team Russia at the 2006 Games and is expected to lead the Russians' bid for a gold medal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
The announcement of his role with Sochi coincided with celebrations marking the two-year anniversary since the Black Sea resort was awarded the Games.