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Moscow Introduces a Rather Unusual Way to Pay for the Subway: Squats

Here's the thing about free giveaways. They're often not really free. They're asking for something worse: your dignity.

The latest is Russia's Olympic-fever gimmick — a machine that offers free Moscow subway tickets to anyone who completes 30 squats in a two-minute window.

To help drum up excitement for the Sochi games, which open in just three months, the Russian Olympic Committee has installed a unique vending machine at the Vystavochnaya station. A special sensor counts squats and dispenses a free ticket to those who successfully complete the challenge. The month-long promotion is designed to encourage fitness and get "everyone involved in a sporting lifestyle," Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov told state-run media outlet RIA-Novosti.

A single-ride ticket normally costs 30 rubles, or about 92 cents, so the offer translates to a ruble a squat. The Olympic committee trotted out star gymnast Yelena Zamolodchikova for the first performance. But the BBC's Steve Rosenberg helpfully caught himself trying it out (and succeeding!) on film to give you a better sense of how awkward your average passenger looks squatting.

Check it out below:

Video via BBC News Russia.

Stephanie Garlock is a fellow at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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