War in Ukraine: Ivan Kuliak suspended for a year for displaying the “Z” in support of Putin

The penalty fell.

War in Ukraine: Ivan Kuliak suspended for a year for displaying the “Z” in support of Putin

The penalty fell. Ivan Kuliak, who wore a badge linked to his country's invasion of Ukraine on the World Cup podium in Doha in March, has been suspended for one year, the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation Disciplinary Committee has said. (GEF).

The 20-year-old Russian gymnast's jersey prominently featured the letter "Z" as he stood next to gold medalist Kovtun Illia of Ukraine. The last letter of the alphabet, which has become the symbol of support for the Russian invasion, is painted on Russian tanks and vehicles in Ukraine.

Ivan Kuliak banned for 1 year https://t.co/9SD3WoafM5— Gymnastics Coaching (@GymCoaching) May 17, 2022

"Mr. Kuliak is not permitted to participate in any event or competition organized by a FIG-affiliated member federation for one year from the date of this decision," the GEF said. If the protective measures preventing Russian athletes from competing are still in place on May 17, 2023, the ban will continue and expire six months after the removal of the said measures. »

The 2019 Russian Junior champion must also return his bronze medal and his prize of 500 Swiss francs (477 euros). He has 21 days to appeal the sanction.

It had also already been decided that all Russian and Belarusian gymnasts would be banned from future competitions.

"They started this whole political movement," the athlete said at the time. It is in response to this behavior that I presented myself with this crest on my shirt. The Ukrainians were wrapped in their flag and they shouted "Glory to Ukraine" on the podium. According to the rules of the competition, it was not allowed, but no one told them. They also demanded that we Russians be excluded when we had not said or done anything against anyone. I just wanted to show where I am from, that's all and nothing more. I have never been afraid of the consequences and I mean no harm to anyone. This "Z" sign means "for victory" and "for peace". Ukrainian athletes treated us badly. »

Ivan Kuliak was then supported by the president of the Russian Gymnastics Federation.