Ivan Kulyak: Russian gymnast banned for a year after wearing a pro-war symbol on the podium

The 20-year-old wore the ‘Z’ taped symbol on his jersey while standing next to Ukrainian gymnast Ilya Kovtun on the podium in March – Kovtun won the gold and Kulyak took the bronze on the parallel bars at the World Cup of Gymnastics. Happened in Doha, Qatar.

The ‘Z’ badge was displayed on tanks and vehicles used by the Russian army and became a symbol in support of the invasion of Ukraine.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has criticized Kolyak for his “shocking behaviour” and the athlete has now been sanctioned by the GEF Disciplinary Committee for violating FIG rules.

The GEF has ruled that Kollek is banned from any FIG event for 12 months and must return his bronze.

“If the preventive measures that prevent Russian athletes from competing are still in effect on May 17, 2023, the ban will continue and expire six months after the removal of these measures,” the statement added.

Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to participate in official competitions authorized by the International Football Association (FIG) on the advice of the International Olympic Committee during the invasion.

Kuliak must also repay the $501.77 award money and pay $2,007 for the cost of the actions.

The player has 21 days to appeal the decision.

CNN has contacted the Federation of Artistic Gymnastics of Russia (FSGR) about any possible appeal but has not received a response.

Amid criticism, Kulyak said he would “do exactly the same” if given another chance, according to Russian state media at the time.

“I saw it with our army and looked at what this symbol means. It turns out [it means]”For the sake of victory” and “for the sake of peace,” Kulyak was quoted as saying in the Russian media controlled by Russia Today.

“I did not wish anything bad to anyone, I showed my position. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and defend peace.”

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