Gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, who has represented three countries across eight successive Olympics, bid farewell to the quadrennial Games after narrowly failing to qualify for the vault final. The 46-year-old had first competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games.
“My son is 22 years old and I want to spend time with him. I want to be a mom and wife,” Oksana, who was representing Uzbekistan at the Tokyo Olympics, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
Oksana, who was born in Bukhara (Uzbekistan) in 1975, had represented the Soviet Union (USSR) in the 1991 World Championships, in which she won gold in team event and floor exercise. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, she represented Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, a team of breakaway nations which were formerly in USSR). She won gold in Barcelona in the team event for CIS.
She then represented Uzbekistan in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney as well as in the 1994, 1994 and 2002 Asian Games.
Oksana switched to Germany from 2006 and won a silver medal in vault in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She also represented Germany in the 2012 London Olympics as well as in multiple European Championships.
She then returned Uzbekistan and qualified for the final in vault in the 2016 Rio Olympics at the age of 41.
She also won silver for Uzbekistan in the vault event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang at the age of 43.
“I had been preparing for things to end here, but it’s impossible to be fully ready for this,” Chusovitina told reporters later.
“I have spent a lot of time in gymnastics, now there isn’t much time left,” she added.
According to Xinhua, when her final score was displayed on the screen along with a ranking of 11th, Chusovitina could not hold back the tears. Judges, volunteers, media workers and others paid tribute in a standing ovation in the near-empty venue.