KEY POINTS

  • Oksana Chusovitina retires from competition after 29 years at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • She has represented three different countries in her career
  • Multiple gymnastic moves have been named after her

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has seen its fair share of memorable moments throughout.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz lifted the Philippines to its first-ever gold medal while setting an Olympic record, Team USA’s basketball team performed miserably against France in the group stages, and 13-year-old Japanese skateboarder Momiji Nishiya became the country’s youngest Olympic champion.

The global competition also saw some of its most human moments.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka left the venue without talking to the media after falling in the third round of the women’s tennis singles event to Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova before returning to answer one question and then promptly left after.

There was also Team USA’s Simone Biles who withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics final citing mental health concerns.

All of these events took some of the shine away from another competitor who competed in her final gymnastics event.

46-year-old Oksana Chusovitina first competed in the Olympic Games as part of the Unified Teams during the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, where she won her first gold medal in the team event while placing seventh in floor exercises.

For added context, Biles was born in 1997.

In a sport where few gymnasts remain competitive past the age of 26, Chusovitina became the oldest female gymnast to compete in the Olympics after completing her two vaults during the qualifying rounds of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Uzbek missed out on reaching the event final with a score of 14.166 on the vault.

She had already seemed to retire after the 2009 world championships and in 2012, but the legend continued to soldier on and compete at the highest level until the very end.

“On the podium, everyone is the same, whether you are 40 or 16. You have to go out and do your routine and jumps. But it’s a pity there are no points for age,” she told the Associated Press in 2016.

Throughout her career, she amassed 11 gold medals at 17 world championships while representing the Soviet Union, her homeland of Uzbekistan, and Germany.

Chusovitina retires from the sport with a gymnastics Olympic record of eight consecutive appearances.

Her legend has already been cemented with multiple moves being accredited to her after she successfully pulled them off in international competition--namely: the hop full pirouette and full-out dismount on uneven bars, the front handspring piked front full-on vault, and the full-twisting double layout on the floor.

Chusovitina's career and achievements are a testament to the fact that athletes are built differently compared to most people.