NORMAN — The story had all the elements of a Cold War thriller: a wealthy American businessman, Russian leadership at the highest levels, diplomatic intrigue and purloined jewels.
Regrettably, there was no romantic subplot. But if the movie rights on this are ever sold, that will be an easy addition to the script.
The mystery of Robert Kraft’s wayward Super Bowl ring was one of many odd places sports wandered into in 2013:
A suspect in Vancouver’s 2011 Stanley Cup riots was identified as a former Miss Congeniality beauty pageant winner; a top high school girls’ basketball team in Iowa featured four sets of sisters; ski star Lindsey Vonn was called off a New York red carpet at a Lincoln Center fashion gathering for a random drug test.
The Tigers’ Torii Hunter missed a game because of an Achilles tendon injury caused by wearing dress shoes that were too tight; Jets coach Rex Ryan ran with the bulls in Pamplona, his team unable to run with the Bears, Broncos and Bengals; and the world’s oldest marathoner, Indian-born Fauju Singh, decided enough was enough and stopped running at 101.
“I will miss it,” he said.
Kraft’s saga begins in June in one of New York’s finest hotels. The owner of the New England Patriots is speaking at a gala where he is being honored. He regales the guests by telling them how one of his Super Bowl rings wound up on display at the Kremlin.
Kraft says he was visiting St. Petersburg with a business delegation in 2005 when he was introduced to Vladimir Putin and showed the Russian president the diamond-encrusted ring.
“I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket,” Kraft said, as quoted by the New York Post. “And three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”