Ivan Kuliak emerged from his silence on Tuesday after being disciplined by the International Gymnastics Federation for behavior deemed “scandalous” in a competition counting for the World Cup.
The young gymnast, who stood on the podium to receive the bronze medal with the letter ‘Z’ on his chest, in reference to the symbol used by the Russian military forces during the invasion of Ukraine, guaranteed that, despite all the controversy, he remains firm in his position.
“If there was a second chance and I had the option of appearing or not with the letter ‘Z’ on my chest, I would do the same”, he started by saying, in an interview to the Russia Today television channel, which, we recall, is suspended in the European Union.
“I saw the letter on our army and researched what the symbol meant. I realized it stood for ‘Towards Victory’ and ‘For Peace’. I just wanted to demonstrate my position. As a athlete, I will always fight for victory and play for peace,” he added.