— Published 19 May 2022

Ivan Kuliak gets one year

The penalty has been imposed. It is heavy. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has announced that it has suspended the young Russian Ivan Kuliak (photo above) for one year. He is accused of having expressed his support for the invasion of Ukraine on the podium of a competition. The facts date back to the beginning of March. Third on the parallel bars, Ivan Kuliak presented himself at the medal ceremony of a stage of the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha (Qatar) with a shirt bearing the letter “Z” instead of his country’s flag. The competition was won by Ukrainian Illia Kovtun, who stood next to him on the top step of the podium. “Mr Kuliak is not allowed to participate in any competition organised under the auspices of the FIG or any of its affiliated members for one year from the date of the decision,” the international body’s ethics foundation said in a statement. Ivan Kuliak, 20, must also return his bronze medal and the 500 euro bonus he received in Doha for his third place in the World Cup. The young Russian has 21 days to appeal his suspension. The FIG states: “If the protective measures keeping Russian athletes from competing are still in place on May 17, 2023, the ban shall continue and expire six months after the removal of said measures.”