Oksana Chusovitina, 46, Takes Final Bow After Competing in Her 8th Olympics
Oksana Chusovitina just concluded her Olympic career with a standing ovation and made history as the oldest gymnast in the Games' history.
Standing ovation and not a dry eye in the house for the #ArtisticGymnastics legend Oksana Chusovitina 🇺🇿 as she takes her final @Olympics bow. The 46-year-old today became an 8⃣-time Olympian, competing on Vault for the last time at @Tokyo2020 ❤️#Tokyo2020 #Olympics pic.twitter.com/fjm3QNiK21— FIG (@gymnastics) July 25, 2021
The 46-year-old from Uzbekistan has taken part in a whopping eight Olympic Games, competing in every Olympics since 1992. She has represented Uzbekistan, Germany, and the Soviet Union over the years. She won her first Olympic medal in 1992, taking home a gold medal in the team event, and has since won 11 medals at 17 world championships. The legendary gymnast even has "had five moves named after her because she was the first to perform them at a world championship or Olympics," as per the New York Times.
In Tokyo this year, Chusovitina took part only in vault and had been selected to bear the flag at the Opening Ceremony; however, she did not walk in the Ceremony because her competition started shortly thereafter. Having completed two vaults in an effort to qualify for the event final, Chusovitina received an average score of 14.166 which was not high enough to place among the top eight and advance.
Regardless of her not moving on to the final, what she's accomplished cannot be overstated. Considering the average age of most Olympic gymnasts is 20 years old, realizing Chusovitina won a silver medal on vault at 33 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and took fourth at the 2018 world championships at 43 is quite the feat.
The athlete has said she trains "about three hours a day and takes Sundays off altogether," as per the Times, but confirmed that this year's Games would be her last because she wants to spend time with her family.
“I think it’s time now, really,” she said. “I want to be a mom and a wife," she told the publication.
The mom of one, to 22-year-old Alisher, is notably part of a very small group of gymnasts who have returned to the Games after becoming a mother. That group includes Cuban Leyanet González Calero, Soviet Larisa Latynina, Dutch Suzanne Harmes, Russian Aliya Mustafina, Pole Marta Pihan-Kulesza, and Icelandic Irina Sazonova.
This post is part of a series covering the talented female athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Stay up to date on their latest achievements and watch them go for gold here.