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Russian gymnast wore pro-invasion 'Z' symbol on podium next to Ukrainian competitor

Russia Z symbol invasion
Posted at 12:59 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 12:59:47-05

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak is expected to be investigated after displaying a symbol on his uniform supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

Kuliak taped the “Z” symbol to his vest at a World Cup event in Qatar. The symbol has been seen on Russian tanks and military vehicles in Ukraine and embraced by supporters of the war.

According to The Guardian, there are various theories behind the origins behind the "Z" symbol, but videos have shown Putin supporters wearing it while praising the invasion of Ukraine.

According to CNN, Kuliak even wore the "Z" symbol on the podium after earning the bronze medal in the parallel bars. Standing next to Kuliak on the podium was Ukrainian Illia Kovtun, who took home gold in the competition.

The International Gymnastics Federation says it was “shocking behavior” and has asked 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," the FIG's full statement read.

The 20-year-old Kuliak was able to compete in Qatar because the exclusion of all gymnasts and officials from Russia and Belarus did not take effect until Monday.