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Russian Gymnast Is Given Disciplinary Action for Wearing Invasion-Supporting ‘Z’ Symbol on a Podium

Photo: NPR/YouTube

Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak was subjected to disciplinary action after wearing a “Z” symbol on his uniform.  Because he stood next to Ukrainian Illia Kovtun during the medal ceremony at the Apparatus World Cup. It was at a gymnastics event, in Doha, Qatar last Saturday.

Although Z is not part of the Cyrillic alphabet, the letter has become a symbol of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian military vehicles have also donned the letter, and supporters of the invasion have adapted it.

Ivan Kuliak – Won Gold and Bronze for Parallel Bars

Kuliak had taped the letter over his uniform in place of the Russian flag. He did this after the use of the flag because the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) did not support them. 

Kuliak won bronze and Kovtun won gold for parallel bars, placing the two athletes beside each other during the medal ceremony.

The FIG issued a statement on Sunday, stating that “it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak (RUS) following his shocking behavior at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar.”

The world gymnastics regulatory body declared in late February that the flags of both Russia and Belarus and the two countries’ national anthems were no longer in any FIG competitions.

The international body has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from joining in any FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions, effective March 7.

The FIG’s decision is similar to other world sporting organizations distancing themselves from Russia since the country invaded Ukraine.

Russian Soccer Team Suspended for FIFA

All Russian soccer teams were also recently taken away by FIFA, the international soccer governing body. As a result, they are not taking any participation from competitions until further notice. This decision comes after numerous European teams announced that they refuse to play Russia in friendlies. They also refused in the upcoming competitions, and World Cup qualifying matches. Also, they got suppor by the UEFA, the governing body of European soccer. Accordingly, Russia was no longer competing in the upcoming 2022 World Cup.

Russian athletes also did not participate in the Beijing Paralympic Games. This was the day before the start of the games.

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