March 18, 1965 If the Russians had an all-purpose, indestructible, third-down-fullback kind of cosmonaut, it was Leonov. With a head like a bowling ball and a genial smile, he was just the man to follow Yuri Gagarin who, like John Glenn, was now considered a national treasure, wrapped in tissue and told never to fly in space again lest something happen to him. Leonov, a much more blue-collar astronaut, would be chosen for the first spacewalk, a deceptively arduous 12-minute float at the end of a 5-ft. tether. The exercise went well until the end, when Leonov's overinflated suit prevented him from re-entering the spacecraft, requiring him to release some air and struggle back inside. More than a few Americans pointed to the grainy quality of the pictures the Russians released as evidence that the whole thing had been faked, insisting that if you looked hard enough you could see air bubbles from the pool in which the ruse was staged. The conspiracy claims proved nothing of course except that when you're a really sore loser, you can say really dumb things.