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Kushnir claims second straight aerials gold for Belarus

  • The Sports Network
  • Published Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 9:38 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 12:59 p.m.

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Anton Kushnir of Belarus won gold in the men's aerials Monday at the Sochi Games, claiming his country's second straight Olympic title in the freestyle skiing event.

Belarusian skier Alexei Grishin, who won gold four years ago in Vancouver, failed to even make it to the three-round final before his compatriot Kushnir made it two straight Olympic aerials titles for the country.

Kushnir had the highest-scoring jump of the day in his third attempt of the final round. His gold-winning jump earned a score of 134.50 from the judges to easily outpace silver medalist David Morris of Australia.

Grishin's aerials win in 2010 marked the first-ever gold medal for Belarus at the Winter Games, but the country has earned five golds in Sochi. Darya Domracheva has claimed three gold in women's biathlon and Alla Tsuper took the Olympic title in the women's aerials.

The finals began with 12 skiers before the field was whittled to eight after the first jump. Only four skiers make it to the third and final jump.

Morris' final jump earned a mark of 110.41 and China's Jia Zongyang was third with a score of 95.06. Jia's countryman Qi Guangpu finished fourth.

All three skiers to make the podium in Tuesday's event were first-time Olympic medalists.

After earning the last of 12 spots for the finals, American skier Mac Bohonnon was the seventh of eight skiers to move into the second jump of the finals. He had a score of 105.21 to reach the final eight, but Bohonnon failed to qualify for the third jump. The 18-year-old was fifth in the second round with a score of 113.72, leaving him 1.33 points shy of the fourth berth in the last round.

Bohonnon was the lone American in the field. Jeret Peterson, who claimed silver for the U.S. in Vancouver, tragically killed himself less than 18 months after competing in 2010.

Travis Gerrits was the only representative for Canada and he finished in seventh place after Bohonnon and Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine.

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