Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak wore a “Z” on his uniform in apparent support of Russian troops at a competition last week.
The 20-year-old from Kaluga, Russia, took home the bronze medal in parallel bars at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar — an event in which Ukranian Illia Kovtun won first place — and could be seen with the “Z” on his chest on the podium.
As Daily Mail has described, the “Z” has emerged as a way for Russian politicians, influencers and activists to show support for Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Latin insignia has been seen on tanks and other military vehicles in the invasion, and merchandise with the “Z” is for sale through Russia Today, a state-funded Russian outlet.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said in a statement it plans to discipline Kuliak for the wardrobe decision.
“The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak (RUS) following his shocking behaviour at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar,” the statement said.
“The FIG adopted further measures against Russia and Belarus [earlier in March]. Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to take part in FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions.”
It was determined as of Monday all Russian and Belarusian gymnasts will be banned from competitions. Belarus has been a key staging area for Russian troops.