Ivan Kuliak: Gymnast faces disciplinary action after appearing to wear Russian war symbol on podium

close up of hands and rings
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Ivan Kuliak is facing disciplinary action from the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) after appearing to wear a Russian war symbol on the podium at a World Cup event in Doha.

Russian gymnast Kuliak finished third at the event in Qatar, which was won by Ukrainian Illia Kovtun amid the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

As the athletes stood on the podium, Kuliak was seen with a ‘Z’ taped across the front of his shirt – a symbol which has been reported to mean ‘victory’ in Russian and which has been seen on tanks taking part in the invasion.

The ‘Z’ was in place of the Russian flag, which had been banned by gymnastics’ governing body, and the federation confirmed it was now asking the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to investigate the incident.

“The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak (RUS) following his shocking behaviour at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar,” a statement aid.

“The FIG adopted further measures against Russia and Belarus on 4 March. From 7 March 2022. Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to take part in FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions.”

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