Oksana Chusovitina gets even more captivating with each year that passes. Despite her already celebrating her 41st birthday last Sunday (June 19), the triple world champion is still brave enough to prove that age is just a number, as she is currently on her way to her seventh Olympic Games, a remarkable feat in Gymnastics.
Yet in 2012, the athlete who successfully acquired the Olympic title in 1992 with the Unified Team had already made her decision that the 2012 London Olympics would be the last Olympic Games she would participate in. She insisted that that’s really how women are. “They say one thing and then change their minds,” she mischievously said after acquiring a spot to the Summer Games at the Olympic Test Event in April.
“One day I just felt that I still had more to give, and that I should at least try, to make sure I had no regrets in the future. That’s why I decided to carry on,” she clarified.
How is her form? “Excellent!”. She revealed that the thing that keeps her motivated is “The love of Gymnastics! I adore it, I still get so much pleasure from it.”
Chusovitina would have found it hilarious if she had been told at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, her Olympic debut, that she would still be competing at the Olympic Games at the age of 40. Everyone can’t help but admire her longevity at this highest level, but she insisted that she doesn’t keep any secret. “I don’t know, I really don’t,” she said while laughing. “I train for two hours a day and otherwise I live a normal life.”
She caught a lot of attention from the public. At the Olympic Test event in April, as at the previous World Championships in Glasgow last October, the crowd showered each of her performances with applause and encouragement. The 41-year-old gymnast appreciates those so much. “It gives me even more strength, it motivates me a lot,” she said.
After the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Chusovitina returned to Uzbekistan. “I always promised to end my career in the country where I was born and trained,” she recalled.
At the Rio Olympic Games, she is about to break another record – she would be the oldest gymnast, male or female, ever to participate in the Olympic Games. But, for the most part, Chusovitina is aiming to add more medals to her attractive collection of awards and trophies. She still remains competitive on the Vault even against the competitors half her age, as she once again proved at the April Test Event. She has been practicing two Vaults but won’t use the Produnova vault, which she attempted at the 2015 World Championships.
Judging by her recent strong performances, it is obvious that her retirement is not yet to be talked about. What’s more, when asked about the possibility of her appearance at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, a smile twitches at the corner of her mouth as she replies “Never say never!”.
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