Russian gymnast who wore ‘Z’ on podium slapped with one-year ban

Ivan Kuliak, the Russian gymnast who defended wearing the letter “Z” on his singlet on the podium ​​on the Equipment World Cup in Doha, Qatar, in assist of the war in Ukraine, has been banned from competitors for one yr and can return his medal, the Worldwide Gymnastics Federation (FIG) mentioned Tuesday. 

Gymnastics’ worldwide sports activities governing physique launched an announcement stating that Kuliak violated a number of ethics codes when in early March, simply weeks after Russia launched a navy assault on Ukraine, the 20-year-old wore the letter “Z” on his chest – an emblem that has been mentioned to establish the autos as friendlies for Russian forces.

“Mr. Kuliak is disqualified from the Doha FIG Apparatus World Cup and he will return the bronze medal and the prize money of [$500 Swiss franc] or the equivalent in US dollar,” the assertion learn. 

“Mr. Kuliak is not allowed to participate in any FIG-sanctioned event or competition organized by an affiliated FIG member federation for one year as of the date of this decision.” 

The FIG additionally famous that if the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes ought to nonetheless be in place one yr from the beginning of his ban (2023), that he’ll face a further six-month ban from at any time when these measures have been lifted. 

Kuliak gained the bronze medal within the parallel bars on the occasion. Whereas on stage with the “Z” image on his chest, Kuliak stood beside Ukrainian Illia Kovtun, who took house the gold. 

Kuliak later defended his actions, saying will all the time “stand for peace.”

“I saw it with our military and looked at what this symbol means. It turned out [it means], ‘for victory’ and ‘for peace,’” Kuliak claimed. “I didn’t wish anything bad on anyone, I just showed [what] my position [was]. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and stand for peace. Only [for that] and everything.”

Kuliak has 21 days to enchantment the choice.

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