Oksana Chusovitina: Olympic Legend, Uzbek Hero

In a sport full of icons (Simone Biles, Nadia Comaneci, and Nastia Liukin, just to name a few) Oksana Chusovitina is a legend. With 8 visits to the Olympic games, no one in the world of gymnastics, or any sport for that matter, comes close to reaching the records she’s set.  

Chusovitina’s story showcases the grit, determination, and excellence of the people of Uzbekistan, the nation she calls home. Having attended the games since 1992, she has represented the Commonwealth of Independent States after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Germany, and now Uzbekistan. Chusovitina has seen firsthand the journey of change her home country has dedicated itself to, proudly carrying the Uzbek flag during the parade of nations at the Olympic opening ceremony this last week.   

Her story woven through the fabric of the Olympic games only further showcases her perseverance and dedication to the sport. As a member of the Unified team at the 1992 Summer Games she helped to bring home the all-around gold medal. Years later, Chusovitina found herself moving to Germany when her son, Alisher was diagnosed with leukemia, in order for him to receive the treatment he needed.  

After returning to her home country, Chusovitina began competing for Uzbekistan again in 2013. Her husband even shares her same dedication to sport, having represented Uzbekistan at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic games.  

At 46 years old, Oksana earned an average score of 14.166 in the qualifying rounds of the vault competition in this years games. While her score was not high enough to advance, she did receive a much deserved standing ovation to a crowd of adoring peers who look up to her as a giant in the sport.  

Reflecting on her gymnastics career, she shared on Instagram, “There were ups and downs! There were tears of joy and tears of grief, but I don’t regret it for a single minute!”  

Olympic Gold Medalist, Aly Raisman, shared a video of Oksana Chusovitina from 1992 on Twitter. “This is Oksana Chusovitina 8th Olympics!!” Raisman tweeted.”No words to describe how impressive that is. Forever an icon. Wishing Oksana the best of luck! I’m so excited to watch.” Raisman’s comments demonstrate the sentiment held by young women across the gymnastics world, Chusovitina is a hero.  

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