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Gymnast Ivan Kuliak, who wore the ‘Z’ war symbol after losing gold to Ukrainian Illia Kovtun, says he will do it again


Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak says he doesn’t regret wearing a symbol of war.

The athlete sported a “Z” logo as he won bronze in the parallel bars competition of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Artistic Gymnastics World Cup series, in which Ukraine’s Illia Kovtun won won gold.

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The Russian wore the symbol which is seen as a sign of support for the invasion of his country

The 20-year-old placed the letter on his chest when he received his medal, sparking anger around the world.

The “Z” symbol has been seen on the side of Russian tanks and is, according to Kuliak, a sign of “victory” and “peace”.

Following its decision to produce the political statement, the FIG condemned it, calling it “shocking behavior”.

They also asked his Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to launch an investigation.

The FIG said in a statement on Monday, “The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will request the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Kuliak following his shocking behavior at the Apparatus World Cup.”

Kuliak, however, insists he does not regret his decision and said he would repeat his action.


Gymnast Ivan Kuliak, who wore the ‘Z’ war symbol after losing gold to Ukrainian Illia Kovtun, says he will do it again

AFP

The “Z” symbol was often displayed on tanks and is a sign that was supported by some Russians

“If there was a second chance and I had the choice to go out with the letter ‘Z’ on my chest or not, I would do the same,” he told Russia Today.

“I saw it on our military and looked up what that symbol meant. It turned out to be ‘for victory’ and ‘for peace’. I just wanted to show my position.

“As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and play for peace.”

Kuliak was unable to carry the Russian flag on Saturday as it had already been banned by the FIG.

As of Monday, all Russian and Belarusian gymnasts, officials and judges have also been suspended from all future FIG-sanctioned competitions.



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