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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Miami Love Story a Hit at Home




Anna Kournikova and Pavel Bure knocked the war in Chechnya and the presidential election off the front pages of Russian papers Wednesday as the media rejoiced in a happy story.


"The first groom of Russia has found the first bride of Russia in Florida," swooned Izvestia in its lead article, placed above the armed forces' seizing of Shatoi from Chechen fighters.


"The wedding will be, by the way, a titanic effort for the official male to change the West's view of Russia as a country of gloomy geniuses and constant disorder," Izvestia wrote.


Hockey star Bure proposed to Kournikova, No. 10 in women's tennis, at a Miami Beach restaurant Friday. The story was broken Tuesday by English tabloids The Sun and The Mirror, which gleefully reported the news under the headlines "Anna Nets a Husband" and "Kournikova Cornered."


Russian papers added a few more details to the romantic evening Wednesday with Moskovsky Komsomolets saying the couple celebrated with a $3,000 bottle of champagne and Kommersant adding that Bure slipped a $1 million engagement ring on Kournikova's finger.


Komsomolskaya Pravda scooped most of the world by reporting that the wedding would take place in Moscow at the end of June or the start of July, citing Bure's relatives in Moscow. The couple then planned to return to the United States for a civil wedding.


Bure, who plays right wing for the Florida Panthers, himself told reporters Monday that nothing would be decided until the middle of March when Kournikova returns to south Florida.


Not all Russian papers were quite as full of joy as Izvestia. Moskovsky Komsomolets gladly noted that it was the first time that politics was not first on the news broadcast and then went into great detail on the former love lifes of both sports stars.


"After four months of knowing each other they decide on marriage - it will be the most scandalous marriage of the decade," MK said.


Kournikova, 18, has been linked with Detroit Red Wings' star Sergei Fedorov since she was 15. More recently gossip columns have reported that she was seen kissing tennis player Mark Philippoussis in a car at the Australian Open in January, as well as past rumors of entanglements with tennis players Nicolas Lapentti and Mark Knowles, and even soccer player Ronaldo. Kournikova has always refused to comment.


Bure, 28, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets, has been a virtual hermit. "Until recently the famed hockey player has not shown any special interest in amorous affairs," MK said. "Specially kind citizens started to hint at the untraditional sexual orientation of the Russian Rocket."


Other papers didn't find it too difficult to find Bure's past loves. Kommersant even linked Bure with the former Prime Minister of Latvia Kazimira Prunskene.


"The most important thing for me is that I find a good person," Bure said, according to Komsomolskaya Pravda. "The length of the legs and the size of the bust is secondary."


Most papers, though, did note his bachelor habits.


"At last," Bure's younger brother Valery, who plays for the Calgary Flames in the NHL, was quoted as saying by the Sevodnya newspaper.


Valery, who is married with a daughter, said he'd tried to show Pavel the joys of married life, but it hadn't seemed to work.


"I was even glad that we're not Moslem. There the younger brother doesn't have the right to marry earlier than the older," Valery said.


Pavel Bure has actually been married before.


In 1990, he married an American woman so he could stay in the United States, the U.S. magazine Sports Illustrated reported.


"It wasn't a marriage," Bure was quoted as saying. "That's like the most stupid mistake."


He and Kournikova, who rarely speak to the media about their private lives, were keeping quiet after the news broke.


"I'm prepared for anything by now, you go ahead and write whatever," Kournikova said, sidestepping marriage questions Tuesday at the State Farm Tennis Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona.


"Hopefully it won't be a distraction and it isn't. I'm trying to block everything out because I'm concentrating on my tennis right now - that's why I'm here," Kournikova said, according to the AP.