46-Year-Old Gymnast Gets Farewell Ovation After Eighth Olympics

Oksana Chusovitina, a gymnast from Uzbekistan, just competed in her record-setting eighth olympics. She has competed in every Olympics since 1992 and has represented three different countries.

Oksana Chusovitina, or as her teammates call her, ‘Chuso,’ competed in her last Olympics, on the vault, in Tokyo. The 46-year-old gymnastics legend fought back tears as she blew kisses to the cameras during a standing ovation from those allowed in the arena.

“It was really nice,” said Chusovitina. “I cried tears of happiness because so many people have supported me for a long time.”

Her illustrious Olympic career began by representing the Soviet Union in 1992. She gained German citizenship in 2006 and represented Germany in Beijing in 2008. In 2013, she began competing for Uzbekistan again. Her husband, Bakhodir Kurbanov, is also an Olympian from Uzbekistan that competed in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1996 and 2000. 

In 2016, Chusovitina became the first gymnast to appear at seven Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Then, in Tokyo, she pushed to become the oldest gymnast to compete at the Olympics. She competed with two vaults during the qualifying round and earned an average score of 14.166. The score was not high enough to advance, but she says she did not even look at the scores.

“It was really nice. I cried tears of happiness because so many people have supported me for a long time,” she said, according to the International Federation of Gymnastics. “I didn’t look at the results, but I felt very proud and happy. I’m saying goodbye to sports.”

Chusovitina posted about her final Olympics on Instagram. She said her sports life had “ups and downs” and “tears of joy and tears of grief, but I don’t regret it for a single minute.”