Kabaeva is known for her extreme natural flexibility.
She stands at 1.66m (5'4) and weighs 48kg (106lbs). In 1998 at age 15 Alina took out the European Championships in Portugal, her victory considered by many to be completely "out of the blue".
Alina is Russia's most successful rhythmic gymnast to date, and is also one of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of rhythmic gymnastics.
Citing local residents, Switzerland's Bick tabloid said the Russian leader had flown to Switzerland to be with Miss Kabayeva as she went into labour at the private Sant'Anna clinic near Lugano.
That claim was never proven and on re-emerging, Mr Putin dismissed rumours that he had been unwell or otherwise indisposed, saying: "It would be boring without gossip." Miss Kabayeva was an MP in the United Russia party for seven years until last year, and the two have met publicly.
Mr Putin and his wife Lyudmila, a former air hostess, announced in 2013 that they were getting divorced after almost 30 years of marriage.
Asked at the time if the split had happened because the Russian president had a lover, Dmitry Peskov, his spokesman, told a Moscow radio station: "No that's not the case. Everything else is a series of gossip, rumours and conjecture." However, the secrecy that Mr Putin maintains about his family life – including his daughters Katya and Mariya – has encouraged many Russians to think an alliance with Miss Kabayeva is possible.
The rumour that the leader was having an affair with the gymnast first came to public prominence in 2008 when a Russian newspaper, owned by Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire oligarch, quoted a source as insisting that it was true.
Mr Lebedev shut the newspaper soon afterwards claiming it had not been a commercial success, although many suspected the real reason was to appease an angry Mr Putin.This year's Alina festival was dedicated to the 70th anniversary this month of the end of the Second World War.After stepping down as an MP last year, Miss Kabayeva took charge of a pro-Kremlin media holding run by an acquaintance of Mr Putin.She became chairman of the board of National Media Group, which is controlled by Yury Kovalchuk, a finance and media magnate added to US and EU sanctions lists over the Ukraine crisis last year. In a country where open speculation about Putin's private life can court trouble, and even arrest, Russian reporters refused to speculate on the truth behind the unsourced story, which cites an unnamed "insider" who claims Putin and Deng are in a "serious" relationship.Though Deng and Putin have yet to be photographed together in a romantic tryst, notes the ex-Mrs.