Thursday, August 16, 2012
oksana chusovitina, olympic inspiration.
in a sport where athletes older than teen-age are considered ancient
— the misnomered women's gymnastics —
has been competing for more than two decades,
in six olympic games, under three different flags.
oksana is the 37yo mother who took fifth in the vault.
she began her gymnastics career in the soviet union;
following the breakup of the ussr, she competed in barcelona for
the unified team in 1992, winning team gold.
oksana competed for uzbekistan at the following three olympics.
but in 2002, her 3yo son, alisher, was diagnosed with
acute lymphocytic leukemia. oksana moved to germany
so that her son could receive quality treatment, & continued
to compete in order to use the winnings for medical bills.
alisher fully recovered, & as a sign of gratitude,
oksana offered to join the german national team.
she eventually became a german citizen
& won silver in beijing for her newly adopted homeland in 2008.
oksana now intends to retire & continue to coach german gymnasts.
she says the timing is perfect: "i'm happy.
i'm not injured, i'm healthy & i'm a mummy."