Friday, September 24

Uzbek legend Oksana Chusovitina prepares for one last attempt at Olympic glory | Tokyo 2020 Olympics

SMuch can happen in the world of sport in just four years, but throughout the Olympic cycles in recent memory, during a period in which thousands of athletes have had long and fruitful races before setting off for the night, a of the few certainties in each Olympiad. it has been the enduring presence of Oksana Chusovitina.

As a gymnast in a sport so long dominated by teenagers, Chusovitina was already a relatively old age two decades ago and was considered a complete aberration by the time she was 30. However, Tokyo 2020 marks its eighth Olympics in a career that has spanned three decades. When he completed his podium training on Thursday before his attempts to qualify for another jump final on Sunday, he told reporters in Tokyo that it would be his last.

However, she has been an unreliable narrator of her retirement. Chusovitina seemed ready to retire after the 2009 world championships and then again in 2012, but each time she came back motivated and continued to perform at the highest level. Now 46 with an older son than most of his competitors, things seem different: “My son is 22 and I want to spend time with him. I want to be a mom and a wife, ”Chusovitina said.

Such a strong focus on the phenomenon of his age can sometimes hide how excellent he is and how longevity is a testament to his ability. Chusovitina has won 13 combined Olympic and world medals, including a record nine world championship medals in jumping, with one silver in Beijing in 2008. Basically, she has been one of the eight best female jumpers in the world for most of her career, and most recently finished fourth in the 2018 world championships, 44 years old.

Chusovitina was 16 when he burst onto the international stage 30 years ago at the 1991 world championships, arriving with the Soviet team in Indianapolis as a substitute. She was called in to replace her injured partner Yelena Grudneva.

Oksana Chusovitina competes for Germany at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Oksana Chusovitina competes for Germany at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photograph: Franck Fife / AFP / Getty

He began his debut in international competition as a substitute and left it as a star, winning gold medals on the floor and in team competition as well as a silver in vault. In that competition alone, he registered three new skills in the code points, including a double full twist design (all the way out) on the floor and a double fold with full twist.

That level of innovation has sustained her and 30 years in the world are still catching up. The full twist double back design is still one of the toughest turns on the floor today and the full twist double back takedown is one of the most common skills on uneven bars.

Chusovitina then added his most important skill 11 years later when he made a spring vault with a 1.5 torsion design. At the 2002 world championships, he indelibly stamped it in the point code with one of his biggest attempts on the old jumping horse. It remains one of the most difficult vaults in the world.

Chusovitina’s career has spanned four national teams: the Soviet Union, the United Team in 1992 after the demise of the Soviet Union, his native Uzbekistan, Germany, and then Uzbekistan again. In the midst of his burgeoning career, he moved to Germany in 2002 after his son Alisher was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, eventually representing them.

After starting her career as a solid gymnast and one of the most dynamic floor workers in the world, Chusovitina transformed into a vaulting specialist. In Tokyo, it will be the only event she will perform at, leaving her with about 10 seconds between her two vaults on Sunday to make her mark as she tries to reach another final.

Regardless of how your international career ends, you have demonstrated 30 years of excellence and class. His legacy is assured.

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