IVAN KULYAK: RUSSIAN GYMNAST SAYS HE HAS NO REGRETS ABOUT WEARING THE ‘Z’ ON THE PODIUM ALONGSIDE THE UKRAINIAN – STATE MEDIA
The (CNN) Russian gymnast Ivan Kulyak, who has been largely criticized outside Russia for wearing a pro-war symbol on the podium next to a Ukrainian athlete, said he would do exactly the same if given another chance, according to Russia. Government media. The International Gymnastics Federation condemned the 20-year-old for his “shocking behavior” at the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, Qatar, last weekend. Kolyak wore the ‘Z’ taped symbol on his jersey while standing next to Ukrainian gymnast Ilya Kovtun on the podium – Kovtun won the gold and Kolyak took the bronze in the parallel bars on Saturday. Displayed on tanks and vehicles used by the Russian Army in its operations in Ukraine was the ‘z’ badge, and has since become a symbol in support of the invasion of Ukraine.
Propaganda videos on social media show supporters of the Russian President Vladimir Putin wears the symbol “Z”, waves Russian flags and chants pro-Russian slogans. ‘If there was a second chance and I had to choose again whether or not to come out with the letter ‘Z’ on my chest, I would do exactly the same,’ Kulyak was quoted by Russia-controlled media. Russia Today.
“I saw it with our army and looked at what this symbol means. It turns out that [it means], ‘for victory’ and ‘for peace.'”
‘I did not wish anything bad to anyone, I showed my attitude. Being an athlete, I will always fight for victory and defend peace.’ Russian gymnast Ivan Kulyak has come under fire after he wore the “Z” symbol on the podium.
After receiving expressions of support from the head of the governing body for his sport in Russia, the Russian Federation of Artistic Gymnastics (FSGR), Vasily Titov, Kulyak said he was upset with the Ukrainian athletes when they raised their national flag at the event in Doha. According to FIG regulations at the time, Russian gymnasts at this event were only allowed to compete as neutral players and could not display any national icons.
The International Football Association Board (FIG) confirmed in a statement that it will ask the Foundation for Ethics in Gymnastics (GEF) to open disciplinary proceedings against Kolyak. GEF told reporters it could not comment on pending or potential cases as a matter of procedure. Since Monday, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to participate in official competitions sanctioned by the International Football Association (FIG) on the advice of the International Olympic Committee. It comes as UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi estimates that at least 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February 24, with fighting continuing across the country.