Olympic-Gymnastics-At the age of 46, Chusobitina says goodbye again after the eighth tournament

Tokyo 2020 Olympics-Gymnastics-Gymnastics-Women’s Vault-Qualifications-Ariake Gymnastics Center, Tokyo, Japan-July 25, 2021. After playing on the vault, Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina waved.Reuters / Lindsey Wasson

July 25, 2021

Gabrielle Tétrault-by Farber

Tokyo (Reuters) – Five years before Simone Biles was born, Oksana Chusovitina was already an Olympic gold medalist, the brightest stars often disappeared quickly, and their bodies were torn down by years of hard training.

The Uzbek gymnast, 46, ignored all possibilities for the eighth Olympic Games in Tokyo, but said goodbye to tears after failing to cut the vault final after the first day of the women’s tournament. rice field.

Chuso Vitina missed an exciting farewell from thousands of cheering fans as fans paying tickets for the COVID-19 pandemic were locked out of the arena, but she still received from coaches and fellow gymnasts on Sunday. I was impressed by the standing ovation. He praised her extraordinary career.

“These were tears of joy because so many people supported me,” said Chusovitina, adding that she wished she could finish her career in front of the audience.

Despite being disappointed in missing the vault final (the only device she has been competing in recent years), Chusovitina said her lifelong achievements outperformed her in Tokyo.

“I was preparing to end here, but it’s impossible to be completely prepared to end your career,” she said.

Chusobitina became a Soviet all-round champion at the age of 13 and became a world champion on the floor in 1991. Sixteen years after she temporarily switched her loyalty to Germany, she won a gold medal at the team event of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and 16 years later she won a silver medal in the vault in Beijing. ..

Chusovitina’s career also embodies the political turmoil that has shaken the Soviet Union. After competing under the Soviet flag, she represented the Commonwealth of Independent States, the United Team, and her home country of Uzbekistan after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

She later competed with Germany, where she moved to seek treatment for her son’s leukemia and then returned to competition with Uzbekistan.

Chusobitina said her longevity was supported by a strong passion for gymnastics. At the 2012 London Olympics, she announced her retirement, but changed her mind only 24 hours later.

“There is no secret,” said the Uzbeks, who made it to the Bolt final at the Rio Olympics five years ago. “I love gymnastics and no one forced me to do it. I’m happy to do it.”

Chusobitina’s grit and ability to adapt to changing times surprised the gymnastics world. She often proved that age is not a barrier to success in sports.

“There’s no word to explain how impressive it is,” six-time Olympic medalist Ally Raysman wrote on Twitter prior to Chusobitina’s performance. “Icon forever.”

After the gymnastics, Chusovitina said she was looking forward to spending more time with her family and opening a sports club in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

But for now, she plans to relax in the sauna and wear a nice dress on Sunday night to celebrate her incredible career.

“I don’t have much time left now because I’ve been doing gymnastics for a long time,” she said with a laugh.

(Report by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; edited by Pritha Sarkar)

Olympic-Gymnastics-At the age of 46, Chusobitina says goodbye again after the eighth tournament

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