Belarus' Anton Kushnir awarded Big Crystal Globe
In a ceremony in the Minsk City Hall on 26 April, Anton Kushnir of Belarus, the Aerials World Cup leader, received the big and small crystal globes that were brought to the ceremony by FIS Freestyle Skiing coordinator Joe Fitzgerald.
2009/10 was Kushnir's most successful season, despite his poor performance at the Olympic Games where the number-one ranked skier of Belarus crashed out at the qualifying stage while his countryman Alexei Grishin sealed the men's Olympic Aerials gold.
Kushnir won four out of six World Cup competitions and took second and third in the remaining ones. He thus won the small crystal globe which is awarded to the season's best aerials man and also the big overall crystal globe, which is deemed to be the greatest honor in freestyle skiing (aerials, ski-cross, mogul). Anton Kushnir left behind both the mogul skier Dale Begg-Smith of Australia and the ski-cross athlete Michael Schmid of Switzerland.
Acting mayor of Minsk Nikolai Ladutko presented a Minsk honor certificate to the 25-year-old Kushnir. "Although you are very young, you have already done a lot to glorify Minsk and the whole Belarus. We are grateful to you and your teammates who showed to everybody that the Belarusian freestyle skiing is the best in the world. This fact is known in many countries, and it is worth a lot. You fully deserve the unofficial title of a Minsk honorary citizen," Nikolai Ladutko said.
For his part, Anton Kushnir said that it was a great honor for him. "I thank everybody who supported me after the failure at the Olympics. I was very upset about it and took a long time to recover from this loss at the Olympics. But your support gave me strength and will help me conquer new highs," he said. Kushnir's winning of the big and small crystal globes occurred the first-time in the history of winter sports in Belarus.