In Russia, athletes arrange a parade and show

Embarrassing. Neutrality among Russian athletes has remained the norm since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, but more and more openly show their support for Vladimir Putin. Gymnasts at the head of the procession.

agency CASS reports that Nikita Nagorny, a four-time Olympic medalist who won the team all-around title at the Tokyo Games last summer, participated very actively on Monday, May 9, in the Victory Parade in Moscow. The parade is held every year on the same day to commemorate the victory of the Soviet Red Army over Nazi Germany on May 9, 1945.

The Russian gymnast performed as part of the National Corps of Young Army Men. always according CASS, then he confessed that he wanted to call his grandparents. “When I told them that I would participate in the Victory Parade at the head of the Yunarmiya group, they burst into tears“, – explained Nikita Nagorny.

On Monday, May 9, Nikita Nagorny was not the only Russian athlete present in Moscow to show his patriotism and support for the Kremlin regime. Angelina Melnikova, also a multiple Olympic medalist in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 in artistic gymnastics, also marched on Red Square.

The young woman was not afraid to show herself. Web site Gym news posted on her Twitter account a photo in which she poses with a veteran of the Russian army, holding a cardboard with the letter Z in her hand, a militaristic symbol associated with supporters of the invasion of Ukraine (pictured above).

According to Russian media, the parade on Monday, May 9, in Moscow was also attended by two other Olympic medalists, wrestlers Roman Vlasov and Musa Evloev.

They are not the first. Svetlana Khorkina, one of the legends of Russian gymnastics, a seven-time Olympic medalist between Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, paved the way by sharing on her Instagram account several photos of the letter Z. One of her images was accompanied by this caption. : “Action for those who are not ashamed to be Russian”.

Svetlana Khorkina, 43, has never made a secret of her support for the Kremlin regime. She entered politics at the end of her sports career, she was a sports adviser to Vladimir Putin.

Ceremonies to commemorate Russia’s annexation of Crimea on March 18 were also marked by the notable presence of several Russian sports figures at the Luzhniki stadium. Topping the list is swimmer Yevgeny Rylov, Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m backstroke last summer in Tokyo.

Evgeny Rylov, who was sanctioned by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) with disqualification for violating its rules, appeared at a political demonstration, defending himself, explaining that he only wanted to accept an invitation to a concert. He then challenged FINA by taking part in national swimming championships despite being banned from competing.

Several other athletes, including sister gymnasts Dina and Arina Averina, took part in the celebrations at the Luzhnik Stadium. Some of them even showed off their medals and the Z symbol.

Earlier this month, young Russian gymnast Ivan Kulyak stepped onto the podium at the international competition in Doha wearing a T-shirt with a hastily sewn on letter Z. The International Gymnastics Organization (FIG) announced the opening of the study. Ivan Kulyak can also be disqualified.

For international sports organizations, the decidedly militaristic stance of some Russian athletes is a serious headache. Should they be punished for displaying their patriotism? FINA has decided to disqualify Evgeny Rylov for nine months. But the penalty didn’t seem to have much effect on the swimmer. He explained this to his country’s media: “Anyway, I’ve already been banned from all competitions just because of my nationality.“.