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Anton Kushnir, Olympic aerials champion, retires to coach

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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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MORE: 2010 Winter Olympic aerials champions sells gold medal

Marina Arzamasova, world 800m champion, provisionally suspended

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Marina Arzamasova, the 2015 World 800m champion, was provisionally suspended for the presence of an illegal anabolic agent.

Arzamasova, 31, ranks outside the top 100 in the world this year in the 800m, returning from having her second daughter in 2018.

She followed her 2015 World title, the last major outdoor title not won by Caster Semenya, by placing seventh at the Rio Olympics and getting eliminated from the heats of the 2017 Worlds.

The favorite for worlds in a month is American Ajee Wilson, who is second-fastest in the world this year behind Semenya.

Semenya, as well as the Rio silver and bronze medalists, are barred from competing in women’s races between the 400m and the mile under the IAAF’s new testoterone caps.

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MORE: Tokyo Olympics: 20 storylines with one year out to the 2020 Games

2010 Winter Olympic champion sells gold medal

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Aerials skier Aleksei Grishin, the first Belarusian to win a Winter Olympic title, consigned both his Vancouver 2010 gold medal and Salt Lake City 2002 bronze medal to be sold, according to the auction company listing the items.

The medals are listed here and here. Grishin later said he’s selling them to pay for a friend’s medical treatment, according to Belarusian media.

Grishin, now 40, overtook American Jeret “Speedy” Peterson and his Hurricane jump for gold at the Vancouver Winter Games. Peterson committed suicide 16 months later after struggles with alcohol and depression and previous suicide attempts.

Grishin was put on a stamp, given 16,000 square feet to build a home and was Belarus’ flag bearer at the next Olympic Opening Ceremony. Between Vancouver and Sochi, Grishin’s medal was displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Belarusian Statehood in Minsk.

“It had been placed in temporary custody and now, according to the contract, Aleksei got it back,” a museum staffer emailed Wednesday when asked if the museum knew that the medal was being sold. “And, of course, he’s aware of the situation.”

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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MORE: First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50