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Z: The National War Symbol Displayed During Medal Ceremony

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Russian Gymnast Ivan Kuliak was blasted for wearing a Z on his uniform to signal support for the invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Claro Sports

By Fred Cromartie, Ed. D. |

Many people say there’s no room for politics in sports. Recently, during the medal ceremony for the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) event in Doha, Qatar, Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak displayed what has been termed a national war symbol clearly visible on his leotard standing next to his competitor form the Ukraine on the podium.

The Ukrainian Illia Kovtun won the completion and took home the gold. 

The letter Z is a mark and symbol for those wearing it expressing their support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the supportive symbol has been visibly displayed on Russian military equipment.

Due to the Russia athlete’s behavior the International Gymnastics Federation has called for an independent investigation.

“The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against Ivan Kuliak following his shocking behavior at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar,” FIG’s full statement read.

Additionally, “We can confirm that (FIG) has informed us that they will formally be seeking the opening of disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak,” the Gymnastics Ethics Federation said Today.

Dr. Cromartie is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.

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