The Ukraine war dominates the sports world. Athletes worldwide show solidarity with the country. But at the gymnastics world cup there was a scandal recently. Now there is a fuss about new statements by the Russian athlete.
The Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak recently caused confusing moments at the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha. While the Ukrainian Illja Kovtun celebrated what was probably the most emotional victory of his career and at the same time feared for his home country, the third-placed Kuliak wore a “Z” on the chest of his suit – a mark of identification of the Russian soldiers in the war in Ukraine (read more about this here) .
Now the Russian has reiterated his action, telling Russia Today TV channel: “If there was a second chance and I had the choice of whether or not to go out with the letter ‘Z’ on my chest, I would do the same.”
“Just wanted to show my position”
Kuliak continued, “I saw it in our military and looked at what that symbol means. It turned out to be ‘for victory’ and ‘for peace’. I just wanted to show my position.” The latter, however, is nothing more than propaganda from Putin‘s government.
Kuliak faces fine for ‘shocking behavior’
However, the athlete faces a possible gymnastics ban after the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) described his actions as “shocking behavior”. The GID has asked its Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open an investigation.
Kuliak was not allowed to fly the Russian flag due to sanctions. But instead of the logo of his own gymnastics federation, he chose to support Russian President Vladimir Putin.