(NewsNation) — Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak is under investigation by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation after taping a “Z” symbol — seen on military vehicles and embraced by supporters of Putin’s war — to his leotard, according to the International Gymnastics Federation, known as FIG.
Kuliak, 20, was spotted wearing the “Z” at a Gymnastics World Cup event in Qatar on Sunday while standing next to his Ukraine’s Kovtun Illia, who’d just beaten him and won gold in parallel bars.
“We can confirm that the (FIG) has informed us that they will formally be seeking the opening of disciplinary proceedings against male artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak,” the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation said.
FIG had actually banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in their competition, but Kuliak was still able to compete in Qatar because the ban didn’t take effect until Monday.
Kuliak now faces a ban under the FIG disciplinary code. The code allows gymnasts to be punished for acts that “behave in an offensive way,” “damage the image of gymnastics” or “demonstrate anti-sport behavior.”
The sport’s ethics foundation was created in 2018 following the sex abuse scandal involving former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
In a NewsNation poll, we asked if the bronze-winning Russian gymnast should be punished for cheering on Putin’s war while standing next to the Ukrainian medalist.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.