Russian Gymnast Symbol Supports Putin

At the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup medal ceremony, Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak wore a ‘Z’ symbol taped on his chest, a frequently painted insignia on Russian tanks representing support for Putin and the ongoing invasion.

Ukrainian gymnast Illia Kovtun took gold, Kazakhstan’s Milad Karimi took silver, and Russia’s Ivan Kuliak took bronze in the parallel bars event. When stepping onto the podium, Kovtun shook Karimi’s hand but declined Kuliak any acknowledgment.

Following the spectacle, Kuliak defended his decision, “I saw it with our military and looked at what this symbol means…I didn’t wish anything bad on anyone…As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and stand for peace.”

There is a possibility of disciplinary actions, as the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) stated they’ll “ask the Gymnastics Ethics foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak (RUS); following his shocking behavior…”