Russia war symbol: Are scandal tournaments now threatened with harsh penalties?
The Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak (20) caused a scandal at the Gymnastics World Cup. On the podium, instead of a coat of arms, he posed with the Z on his chest in support of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Now Kuliak faces severe penalties.
Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak finished third at the World Gymnastics Cup on parallel bars in Doha. But that became completely irrelevant when he wore a Z on his chest instead of a crest on the podium at the awards ceremony. The Z stands for the Russian military operation in Ukraine and is worn by many supporters of the war. It is also seen again and again on vehicles of the Russian army. Kuliak used the gymnastics stage to support the military operation.
But that was not all. Ironically, he stood next to the Ukrainian Ilya Kovtun on the podium, who finally won the gymnastics world cup. Second was Milad Karimi from Kazakhstan. Second-placed Kazakh Karimi Milad held the Ukrainian winner in his arms. Kuliak, on the other hand, just stood there smiling. The world gymnastics association FIG has now reacted and initiated a disciplinary procedure. This was announced on Sunday evening. After the incident, the Ethics Committee was asked to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
In any case, that was Kuliak’s last appearance on the big gymnastics stage. The World Gymnastics Federation has also decided not to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in events until further notice due to the war in Ukraine. This ban has officially been in effect since today, Monday. Officials and referees are also affected by these sanctions.