Russian gymnast facing discipline, possible ban, for wearing Russian pro-war symbol

A Russian men’s gymnast, Ivan Kuliak, is facing disciplinary measures and a possible ban from all International Gymnastics Federation events after taping a Russian pro-war symbol on his uniform during the medal ceremony at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha this weekend.

Kuliak, who finished third in the parallel bar event over the weekend, stood on the podium next to gold medalist, Ukrainian Ilia Kovtun, displaying a “Z” on his chest fashioned from white tape.

The white “Z” has become a well-known Russian pro-war symbol after being spotted on several Russian war vehicles in Ukraine. The Z represents the phrase, “За победу”, which means “for the victory.”

Responding to Kuliak’s stunt at the event, the FIG issued a statement, saying, “The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against Kuliak following his “shocking behaviour” at the Apparatus World Cup.”

Kuliak was permitted to compete in the weekend event because it occurred prior to the ban on Russian and Belarusan gymnasts that went into effect on Monday, March 7. The FIG put the ban in place as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been aided by Belarus.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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