Chusovitina is acknowledged as a competitor at the 2012 European Championships in Brussels. She was competing before the majority of her competitors were born (Credit: Master's Gymnastics)
Although she is most well-known for her powerful vaulting, she is also a very powerful tumbler and has made many floor finals in the past (and was World Champion on floor at the 1991 World Championships!). Her floor routine in the final at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics is shown below, along with her silver medal performance at the 2008 Olympics. In her more recent beam and floor routines, you can see the old-fashioned Soviet style of gymnastics from this era- love it!
Chuso competes in the floor final at the 1992 Olympic Games. Check out the air she gets at 1:10!
Chusovitina wins silver in the vault final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Oksana's young son was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002 at the age of 2. This was when the family moved to Germany so that their son, Alisher could receive better medical care. The gymnastics community rallied to offer her support and she claims that she has tried to "compete well for people to thank them what they've done for me". Alisher is now a reasonably healthy child, thanks to the excellent medical care he has received. It must have been an extremely stressful couple of years for Oksana and her husband, while taking care of their sick child and being a full-time elite gymnast. It is a tribute to her tenacity and strength as a Mother and a gymnast.
Chusovitina and her son Alisher in 2008 (Photo credit: NBC Sports)
Oksana has recently announced her plans to continue training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. For a 41-year old gymnast competiting at the Olympic Games, it seems to be a bit of a long shot. But I believe that she can do it! She is an amazing person and a great ambassador for the sport of gymnastics. Truley one of the all-time greats of gymnastics, she deserves some kind of award.
"... I have not ended my own sportive career. I am planning to continue until 2016 in Rio de Janeiro! -from GYMmedia.com
NBC interview from 2008: http://www.2008.nbcolympics.com/athletes/athlete=801/qa/index.html
Article by Imogen Browne (@ImogenMireille)