this is Oksana Chusovitina. she is 33 years old. she competed in her first international senior competition in 1989, before several of her competitors in beijing was even born. she won her first world championship title in 1991, and in 1992 she won the team gold with unified team from the former soviet union. Oksana has through her career competed for three different countries; ussr, her native uzbekistan and in the later years, germany. she has competed in five olympic games, as the only female gymnast ever. (remember, gymnastics is a sport for young girls, the peak early and leave early, even if there's some exceptions)
all these years, she kept her high level, and qualified for the big finals in the big championships, winning medals, mostly in her special discipline, the vault exercise.
in in 1997, Oksana married wrestler Bakhodir Kurpanov, and in 1999, she gave born to their son, Alisher. then, the heartbreaking story starts. Alisher was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, but Oksana and her husband could not get proper treatment for him in Uzbekistan. they searched around, and was offered help from gymnastic coaches in Germany, and with the help of Oksana's prize money, and also money that was raised by friends in the gymnastic community, she was able to move to Germany with her family. her son got treated, and is now healthy.
in 2006, she finally obtained her german citizenship, and is now competing for her new home country.
my first olympic video tapes are from 1992 in barcelona. that was the first time I saw Oksana, she made a mistake in her floor routine in the team final, but the unified team still won the gold. today, 16 years later, I'm watching the olympics from beijing. in the vault final is Oksana Chusovitina. it's really so unbelivable, does anyone realise what an achievment this is? this is the fluff stuff tv makes a story about, with classical music in the background, and slow motion pictures.
michael phelps can win 8 gold medals in the same olympic games. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's easier whan there's so many different opportunities to win a gold medal. most atlethes gets only one or two. in handball, you don't get a gold medal for each match won. will michael phelps win medals in 2034?? I don't think so!
earlier today, Oksana won the silver medal in the vault final. I was crying, of course, it was so deserved, I wanted it for her so much!! I know I'm emotional, but this is why I love sports, for the excitment and the great joy the athletes show! I just had to blog about this, I hope you enjoyed the story, right now I'm so over the roof with joy! yay Germany, hop hop hop!