Russian gymnast threatened with ban for her pro-invasion symbol on the podium

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Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak is expected to be investigated after displaying a symbol supporting the invasion of Ukraine on his uniform.

Kuliak taped the “Z” symbol – seen on Russian tanks and military vehicles in Ukraine and adopted by war supporters – on his vest for a medal ceremony at a World Cup on Saturday in Doha, Australia. Qatar. He won bronze on parallel bars and stood next to a gold medalist from Ukraine.

The International Gymnastics Federation, known as the FIG, denounced Kuliak’s “shocking behaviour” and pledged to ask its Independent Integrity Unit to investigate.

“We can confirm that the (FIG) has informed us that they will formally request the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak,” the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation said Monday.

Kuliak, 20, was able to compete in Qatar as the ban on all gymnasts and officials from Russia and Belarus only came into effect on Monday. The Russian flag had already been excluded from his uniform by an earlier FIG decision.

Kuliak, a former national junior all-around champion who did not compete at the Tokyo Olympics, now faces a ban under the FIG Disciplinary Code. The code allows gymnasts to be punished for acts that “behave in an offensive manner”, “harm the image of gymnastics” or “demonstrate unsportsmanlike behaviour”.

The Sports Ethics Foundation was established in 2018 following the sex abuse scandal involving former American gym doctor Larry Nassar.

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