Oksana Chusovitina, a 46-year-old Olympic gymnast, is an icon in the sport
Watching the U.S. Gymnastics team twist through the air has so many of us wondering how anyone can make their body do all that, let alone someone 25 years older than the average U.S. Olympic gymnast. Oksana Chusovitina, a 46-year-old Olympic gymnast, can still make her body do all that, as she proved during her record-breaking eighth appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games. She also became the oldest female gymnast to ever compete in the Olympics.
Chusovitina competed for Uzbekistan on vault during the qualifying rounds. She fell short of moving forward to the event final with a 14.166 score, knocking her out of the top eight that go forward in the competition. The athlete made a small heart with her hands and gave a look of gratitude towards the crowd as she realized she would not be moving forward in the event.
That doesn’t make her performance any less impressive, and fans around the world were eager to point out what a damn legend this woman is.
Still, the athlete received a standing ovation after she finished her two runs during the qualifying event. People around the world also shared their admiration for Chusovitina on social media:
Some fans celebrated the gymnast by sharing old footage of her competing, and it is wild to see this woman simply rock all the gymnastics events over her nearly 25-year-long career.
And she definitely has fans amongst current Olympic athletes. During training, the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team snagged a photo with Chusovitina. “The [Team USA] women were lucky enough to get a photo during training with Oksana Chusovitina as she prepares to compete in her record-extending 8th Olympic Games! As she says, ‘I only got better, like fine wine,'” the team captioned their post. That “fine wine” line has us loving Chusovitina even more, if that’s even possible at this point.
Chusovitina first competed in the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona — a full five years before powerhouse gymnast Simone Biles was born — with the United Team (comprised of countries like her native Uzbekistan after the dissolution of the Soviet Union). She then competed for Germany and her native Uzbekistan in the Games.
There was a brief span when she retired in the late ’90s, but when her son was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, she came out of retirement to raise funds for his treatment. Talk about a super mom!
Seriously, is there anything this woman can’t do?
Although she has teased (and delayed) retirement in the past, her performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games do indeed seem to be her last, and with good reason. “My son is 22 years old and I want to spend time with him,” she told reporters, according to The Guardian. “I want to be a mom and wife.”