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Russian Gymnast Ivan Kuliak, Who Is Facing Disciplinary Action Over Wearing A National War Symbol At Doha World Cup, "Whatever They Do To Me, I Will Still Smile"

  Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak, who  attached the national war symbol 'Z' to his chest while competing at the 2022 Doha World Cup, co...


Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak, who attached the national war symbol 'Z' to his chest while competing at the 2022 Doha World Cup, continues to defend his actions as he posted "Whatever they do to me, I will still smile" today on his Instagram Story.

Screenshot via SarahZi1998

The 20 year old athlete wore the Russian pro war symbol during the parallel bars final, where he won bronze medal behind Ukrainian Illia Kovtun (gold) and Kazakh Milad Karimi (silver), who is engaged to Ukrainian gymnast Diana Varinska and has been training in Ukraine for several years. He also wore it during the podium ceremony. 

He told Russia Today that he has no regrets and that if he had a chance to do it again, he'd do it the same.

"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," he stated.

Kuliak, who received training with the Russian military last year,  stressed that there was no personal aggression towards him at the event adding that the Ukrainians' general behavior "greatly escalated the situation".

"I saw it with our military and looked at what this symbol means. It turned out [it means], 'for victory' and 'for peace'," he pointed out. "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."

The FIG announced on their website that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against Kuliak following his shocking behavior. However, he hasn't been contacted yet by the federation.

On his actions gaining international media attention, the young gymnast said that it did not cause him discomfort.

"I try not to attach importance to what is happening around [me]. Everything is fine." 

Kuliak is now preparing for the Russian championships, which will be held between March 21-26 in Penza.



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