The FIG did not give details of the behavior they denounced, but the statement came after the 20-year-old gymnast wore a “Z” on his leotard while standing next to Ukrainian athlete Ilya Kovtun on the podium — Kovtun won gold while Kulyak took bronze in uneven bars on Saturday.
The organization that oversees the Russian gymnasts admitted in a statement that Kulyak’s performance violated FIG rules, but expressed support for the organization for his actions.
The “Z” sign was emblazoned on tanks and vehicles used by the Russian military in operations in Ukraine and has since become a symbol of support for the invasion of Ukraine.
Propaganda videos on social media show Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supporters wearing “Z” clothing, waving Russian flags and chanting pro-Russian slogans.
“The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) confirms that it will be applying to the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Ivan Kulyak for his shocking behavior at the Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar,” the gymnastics governing body said in a statement Sunday. On Monday, the head of the Russian Artistic Gymnastics Federation (FSGR), Vasily Titov, told the Russian edition of MK that Kulyak has the full support of the leadership. FSGR cited the article on its official website.
“I don’t think Ivan wanted to make a special demonstration, but we will support him anyway,” he said.
“It was a violation of the form approved by the FIG. I think that they can be punished, they can also be removed from participation. But we’ve already been fired.”
CNN has contacted FSGR but has yet to receive a response.
The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation told CNN it could not comment on pending or potential procedural cases.
TO READ: World’s oldest female tennis player remains in war zone in Ukraine In a Friday statement, the FIG announced that as of March 7, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, will not be allowed to compete in official competitions sanctioned by the FIG. advice from the International Olympic Committee, which recommended the ban last week.
The United Nations estimates that more than 1.7 million refugees have left Ukraine since 24 February. Ukraine and Russia are due to hold a third round of talks on Monday as fighting continues across the country, negotiators said.