Russian athlete Ivan Kuliak’s “shocking behavior” at the gymnastics Apparatus World Cup event in Doha, Qatar, has been duly noted by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

FIG was brief on details, but its statement comes on the heels of the 20-year-old wearing a “Z” symbol on his leotard while standing next to Ukrainian athlete ​Illia Kovtun on the podium; the former won bronze in the parallel bars Saturday while Kovtun took gold.

The “Z” mark has been displayed on Russian tanks and vehicles—as well as in propaganda videos on social media—in the Ukrainian invasion and has since become a symbol of support for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

“The International Gymnastics Federation 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,” a FIG statement said.


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​“I don’t think that Ivan wanted to make a special demonstration, but we will support him in any case,” said Head of the Artistic Gymnastics Federation of Russia Vasily Titov. “It was a violation of the uniform approved by the FIG. I think that they can punish, they can also remove us from participation. But we were already removed.”

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