You might think gymnastics is a game held for competitors who are in their adolescents and twenties. In any case, there is one competitor who disrupts the unwritten norms of the game: Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina. The 46-year-old contended at Tokyo 2020 in what was her eighth Olympic Games.

Chusovitina was targeting a place in the vault final and was unable to hide her disappointment when she realised her score was not high enough to keep her in contention. The record-setting 46-year-old received a standing ovation after competing in what she said would be her last Olympics.

Chusovitina was born in Uzbekistan in 1975. In 1988 she won the USSR Junior National Team Championships. In 1992, she took part in her first Olympics in Barcelona, where she won a gold medal in a team event as a part of the Unified Team. Yet, this was only the start of her endless story.

Her ottoman consists of two Olympic medals(team gold at Barcelona, silver in vault at 2008), 11 World Championship medals(three gold, four silver, and four bronze), two World Cup medals(one gold, one bronze), eight Asian Games medals, four Asian Championship medals, and four European Championship medals.

In 1999, she gave birth to her son, Alisher. Her significant other, Bajodir Kurbanov was likewise an Olympic competitor, having contended as a wrestler at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. Sydney 2000 Games were intended to be the final one for Chusovitina. At 25, she was at the ideal age for retirement and had effectively left a mark on the world by contending in Sydney subsequent to conceiving an offspring – there are under 10 creative gymnasts in Olympic history to have done as such.

Chusovitina and her son Alisher

But the end wasn’t meant to be like that.

In 2002, Chusovitina made a comeback in international competitions to raise money for her son’s medical bills as he was diagnosed with leukemia. The family moved to Germany for treatment. The treatment was a success and so was her comeback. In 2008, Alisher was declared cancer-free, and months later, Chusovitina won her first individual medal in Beijing, representing Germany at that moment.

“Medals, no medals, it really doesn’t matter when you hear this news. [No] medal could compare to this type of phone call. When your son is healthy, you can’t compare any athletic achievements with that,” she told ESPN years later.

Chusovitina

After a disappointing performance at London 2012, Chusovitina hung her boots. But,”At night, I told everyone I retired, and the next morning I woke up and changed my mind.” Performing for Uzbekistan once more, Chusovitina contended at Rio 2016, completing seventh in the vault in an occasion won by Simone Biles – 22 years her junior and two years younger than her child, Alisher.

Factually, she has competed in the Games under three different flags (Unified Team, Germany and Uzbekistan) – something no other athlete has done. She also broke her own record for the most Olympic Games a gymnast has competed in.

 

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Chusovitina additionally posted about her last Olympics.”It was very hard to talk about it, I thought it would be much easier,” she wrote in both Russian and English on Instagram. She said her games life had “ups and downs” and “tears of joy and tears of grief, but I don’t regret it for a single minute.”

The living icon has demonstrated from time to time that she is capable of striking out the ‘im’ from ‘impossible’.