Anton Kushnir, the 2014 Olympic aerials champion for Belarus, retired and has started coaching Kazakhstan’s team.
Kushnir, 34, extended Belarus’ streak to five straight Olympics with a men’s aerials medal when he took gold in Sochi with a back double full-full double full.
Four years earlier, Kushnir went to his second Olympics in Vancouver as the World Cup overall champion and favorite and failed to make the 12-man final. Countryman Aleksei Grishin went on to win that title and recently put his gold medal up for sale.
Kushnir completed his Olympic career with a 13th-place finish in PyeongChang, where Belarus failed to earn a medal for the first time since the event’s debut at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games. Ukrainian Oleksandr Abramenko took gold.
Kushnir was born in Ukraine and grew up a soccer player before switching to aerials after his father read about it in a book. He missed time between the 2010 and 2014 Olympics for leg surgeries and between 2014 and 2018 for knee and back injuries.
Belarus built its program into one of the world’s best in aerials, buoyed by a one-of-a-kind indoor water-ramp facility that allowed for year-round training.
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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