Russian Gymnast Has No Regrets Over Wearing Pro-War Symbol ‘Z’
A Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak has been slammed for wearing a pro-war symbol on his chest.
He displayed a ‘Z’ while stood on the podium next to the Ukrainian gold medallist, Illia Kovtun.
The ‘Z’ is reportedly a symbol in favour of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and has been seen displayed on the side of Russian tanks and military vehicles.
Despite the criticism Kuliak received, he has no regrets over his decision to wear the ‘Z’.
“If there was a second chance and I would again have to choose whether to go out with the letter ‘Z’ on my chest or not, I would do exactly the same,” Kuliak told Russian Today.
“I saw it with our military and looked at what the symbol means. It turns out [it means], ‘for victory, and ‘for peace’,” he adds. “I didn’t wish anything bad on anyone, I just showed [what] my position [was].”
“As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and stand for peace. Only [for that] and everything.”
Russian athletes have been either banned from competing – as with the Winter Paralympics – or made to compete as neutral athletes.
“It’s a shame that we no longer have the opportunity to continue to perform at international level,” Kuliak said. “I hope everything gets better soon.”
The International Gymnastics Federation has called for disciplinary action against Kuliak, lauding his behaviour “shocking”.
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