Russian gymnast suspended for a year – Observer

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Sanctions against all Russian and Belarusian teams were cross-cutting to the world of sport, the way in which different modalities applied sanctions in individual modalities varies between competitions and countries. Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine that the measurements are different and that tennis works as a paradigmatic example of this, with Roland Garros, second Grand Slam at the time, allowing everyone to be present as long as there is no support for the actions of Putin and Wimbledon, the third Major of the season, to veto the participation of any player from Russia or Belarus.

‘I would do the same’: Russian athlete who used pro-invasion symbol has no regrets and says he was mistreated by Ukrainians

Then, or in parallel, there were (heavy) sanctions for all those who, in one way or another, support Russian actions in the war. Evgeny Rylov, Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the last Tokyo Games, was punished for nine months after taking part in the parade organized at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, on the occasion of the eight years of the annexation of the Crimea. Ivan Kuliak was the last.

The young gymnast was on a world tour when, in the first week of March, he decided to stand on the podium of the World Cup parallel bars competition in Doha, Qatar, with the symbol Z associated with the defenders of the invasion – and having at his side precisely a Ukrainian athlete.


“We were told to cover the flag, so I did. They had already banned everything possible, I just wanted to show where I’m from, that’s all. I’m not afraid of the consequences and I don’t want to hurt anyone. If there was a second time, I would do it again. The ‘Z’ stands for ‘For Victory’, for peace. And Ukrainian athletes mistreated us, just seeing them would believe it, ”the 20-year-old athlete justified in a message he posted via Telegram, where he made more remarks about what happened. passed on the podium.

A Russian athlete has been investigated for wearing the pro-invasion symbol on the podium at the World Gymnastics competition (which was won by the Ukrainian)

“Athletes were on the podium shouting ‘Glory to Ukraine’ and according to the rules of the competition this is not allowed. But no one told them. sharp. In the images that exist of this parallel bars podium, proof that was won by the Ukrainian Illia Kovtun and who had the Kazakh Milad Karimi as runner-up, we can only perceive the nervousness of Ivan Kuliak, who bites his lip , as well as the tension with Kovtun, who only greeted Karimi during the medals.

“A FIG confirms that I will go to Gymnastics Ethics Foundation that initiates a disciplinary procedure regarding gymnast Ivan Kuliak, following his shocking behavior during the Doha World Cup. The FIG adopted measures against Russia and Belarus on March 4. From March 7, 2022, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, will no longer be able to participate in FIG competitions,” the International Gymnastics Federation announced in a statement. Now came the decision.

Ivan Kuliak, who has in the meantime appealed the decision which could be made in 21 days, will be suspended for one year (there is still a nuance: if the measures against Russia and Belarus are maintained in May 2023, he may still have to stay away for another six months), he will have to return the bronze medal and still pay the costs of the proceedings, in addition to remaining without the prize money for third place.

Born in Kaluga, Ivak Kuliak began gymnastics at an early age under the influence of his mother, representing the famous Larisa Latynina gymnastics school for many years with a stint at the University of Smolensk. In 2019, he had his first big year competitively, when he became junior all-around and floor champion, in addition to winning silver on high bar. That participation earned him a trip to the 2019 Youth Olympic Festival, where he placed second in the all-around and team competition and third in floor and rings. The exploits would later give him the degree of Master of Sport by the Russian Gymnastics Federation.. In 2021, when he joined the Paris-2024 Olympic project, he served in the army as a kind of political indoctrination at the Balashikha military base.

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