‘Ageless’ Oksana Chusovitina a lesson for ‘hot guns’ like Simone Biles following Asian Games heroics

Oksana Chusovitina is a gymnastics giant who has competed in eight Olympics for three different countries: Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, and Germany.


‘Ageless’ Oksana Chusovitina a lesson for ‘hot guns’ like Simone Biles following Asian Games heroics

Oksana Chusovitina (Image via: Imago)

At 48, life ends for an athlete. No, not for this woman from Uzbekistan, who on Thursday was still going hammer and tong in the gymnastics arena. Meet Oksana Chusovitina, legend, goddess, or whatever adjective you want to use.

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It seems like yesterday this graceful girl began her career. Having been in eight Olympics, with the last in Tokyo (2021), one thought it was the end. She began in the pre-internet era, rather the Cold War era. Relics have come and gone, be it cars or gizmos but for Oksana, now holding an Uzbek passport, to stay relevant is massive.

Each Olympic cycle is in itself a torture, coming after a four-year gap. There have been champions like Sir Steve Redgrave in rowing who kept going on and on. Yet, in a sport like gymnastics, to be malleable and ductile, and still use the body so softly to conjure up amazing twists and turns has been fascinating.

The current generation loves American Simona Biles, who talks of her Olympic medals, her mental trauma, sexual harassment, and so on by her own coach. He got jailed, that crook Larry Nassar, finally!

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Oksana has no such issues. She is in her own state of tranquility as if possessed. At a time when youngsters are grabbing the limelight in different disciplines, Oksana still fights over points awarded by the men and women (referees/officials) who look at her critically. On Thursday, she seemed a bit upset with the scores. Yet, for those who romance gymnastics, Oksana was grace. She finished fourth in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

These are crazy stories, to be part of multiple Olympics when careers end and begin. In some cases, the next generation athlete of a family takes over. No, with Oksana, it has been an obsession. Many before her have walked into the sunset, some happy with the medals in the showcase. Out here in Hangzhou, Oksana still grabs headlines because of her legendary status. With such high voltage action in the arenas taking place, for an old lady to be center-stage is big.

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The journey of gymnastics giant Oksana Chusovitina

When you talk of Oksana, you are talking of a lady from the erstwhile Soviet Union. Those were dark days when athletes from the USSR were treated shabbily. With the disintegration of the USSR and the current state that Russia is in, fighting a mad war with Ukraine, Oksana must be happy she embraced Uzbeks, though she did flirt with Germany briefly, too.

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Oksana Chusovitina (Image via: Imago)
Oksana Chusovitina (Image via: Imago)

In Tokyo, she spoke of her son, now in his 20s, wanting to spend time with her. Obviously, despite the son being her love, gymnastics is a romance. You cannot kill it, it lingers, like fragrance.

Rewind and see her results, she has won 13 world and Olympic medals. Does the craze end? No, looks like she will go full throttle in Paris 2024 as well. Oksana knows she is no longer that graceful purring Ferrari, but still wants to do the magic. Who can stop her from competing? Nobody, really.

On the vault, Oksana does the tough handspring and much more. Unless you love this sport, you cannot understand it. It’s dangerous as well at her age, one may say. Maybe, she simply lives and breathes gymnastics.

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