Russian gymnast Ivan Kulyak wore the letter “Z” on his uniform in apparent support of Russian forces in last week’s competition.
The 20-year-old from Kaluga, Russia, took the bronze medal in parallel bars at the Hardware World Cup in Doha, Qatar – an event in which Ukrainian Ilya Kovtun won first – and can be seen with the letter “Z” on his chest on the podium.
As described by the Daily Mail, the letter “Z” has emerged as a way for Russian politicians, activists, and activists to show support for Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Latin insignia was seen on tanks and other military vehicles during the invasion, and goods marked with the letter “Z” are for sale through Russia Today, a state-funded Russian port.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said in a statement that it intends to discipline Kolyak for the wardrobe decision.
“The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will request the Foundation for Gymnastics Ethics to open disciplinary proceedings against artistic gymnast Ivan Kulyak (Russia) after his shocking behavior at the World Equipment Cup in Doha, Qatar,” the statement read.
“FIG has adopted further measures against Russia and Belarus [earlier in March]. Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not permitted to participate in FIG competitions or competitions authorized by FIG.”
From Monday, it was decided to ban all Russian and Belarusian gymnasts from competitions. Belarus was a major staging area for Russian forces.
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