FIG says Russian gymnast who wore ‘Z’ on podium has been banned for one year, ordered to return medal and prize money

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Ivan Kulyak, the Russian gymnast who defended wearing the letter “Z” on his jersey on the podium in Hardware World Cup The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) announced on Tuesday that it has been banned in Doha, Qatar, in support of the war in Ukraine, from competing for a year and will return its medal.

Gymnastics’ international sports governing body released a statement that Kulyak had violated several ethical rules when in early March, just weeks after Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine, the 20-year-old wore the letter “Z” on his chest – a symbol that It was said to identify the vehicles as friendly to the Russian forces.

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“Mr Kolya has been disqualified from the Doha FIG World Cup and will return the bronze medal and prize money [$500 Swiss franc] or its equivalent in US dollars. statment Read.

Ivan Kulyak wears the letter “Z” in apparent support of Russian forces during the World Cup of Artistic Gymnastics.

“Mr. Kuliak is not permitted to participate in any FIG-sanctioned event or competition organized by the Federation of FIG Affiliate Members for a period of one year as of the date of this resolution.”

FIFA also indicated that if the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes is still in effect for one year from the start of his ban (2023), he will face an additional six-month ban once those measures are lifted.

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Ilya Kovtun of Ukraine prepares for the Men's Parallel World Cup on February 27, 2022.

Ilya Kovtun of Ukraine prepares for the Men’s Parallel World Cup on February 27, 2022.
(Andreas Jura/Image Alliance via Getty Images)

Kolya won the bronze medal in the parallel bar in the event. While on stage with the “Z” symbol on his chest, Kulyak stood next to Ukrainian Ilya Kovtun, who took the gold medal.

Kolyak later defended his actions, saying he would always “stand up for peace.”

“I saw it with our army and looked at what this symbol means. It turns out [it means], “for victory” and “for peace,” Kolyak claimed. “I didn’t wish anything bad on anyone, I just offered [what] my site [was]. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and defend peace. Just [for that] And everything.”


Kolyak has 21 days to appeal the decision.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydus contributed to this report.

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