The organization that supervises Russian gymnasts admitted in a statement that Kolyak’s bid violated FIG’s rules, but expressed the organization’s support for his actions.
The ‘Z’ badge was displayed on tanks and vehicles used by the Russian Army in its operations in Ukraine, and has since become a symbol in support of the invasion of Ukraine.
Propaganda videos on social media appear to show supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing “Z” clothes, waving Russian flags and chanting pro-Russia slogans.
“I don’t think Evan wanted to do a private demonstration, but we’d support him anyway,” he said.
“It was a FIG-approved dress code violation. I think they can punish, they can also get us out of the game. But we’ve already been disqualified.”
CNN has reached out to FSGR but has yet to receive a response.
CNN also contacted the Foundation for Ethics in Gymnastics but did not receive a response.
It comes as the United Nations estimates that more than 1.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February 24. Ukraine and Russia are due to hold the third round of talks on Monday, according to negotiators, as fighting continues across the country.
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