One of the things that makes Oksana Chusovitina’s career special, apart from her unprecedented longevity, when she is an Olympian 8 times, is her tendency to retire and then leave immediately. It’s happened so many times at the moment that it’s exactly what makes Chusovitin’s career so enjoyable to watch.
In 2021, Chusovitina did not even reach the New Year until she broke her promise that the Summer Olympics would be the end of her career. When autumn came, Oksana had already openly stated that she planned to compete in 2022, but stressed that under no circumstances was it an attempt to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games. It was simply an attempt to compete in the 2022 Asian Games.
And then, a few weeks later, on Instagram, Chusovitina suggested to her fans that 2024 was an open one.
In honor of the gymnastics fans, who will get another ATV, where we will watch Chusovitina as he tries to perform at the 9th Olympic performance, I will come up with graphics that visualize Oksana Chusovitina’s career. Because at this point, her story can no longer be fair.
I took the same linear template that I use for graphics in the profiles section. It contains the timeline of Oksana Chusovitina’s career, ranked alongside the careers of all Olympic all-around winners from 1992 to the present. If you are wondering why some years are listed twice, these are the years when the World Championships took place in the Olympic year (1992, 1996 and 2021). If you are wondering why some years cross the red line, these are the years when there was no World Cup or Olympics (1990, 1998 and 2020).
This is done to show how many competitions the gymnast had to go through, but also how many years the gymnast had to wait before her next big competition. While the Olympic all-around champions have been known since they competed for the first and last time at the Olympics and / or the World Cup, I cheated a little with Oksana’s timeline.
Since she first competed with international gymnasts at a higher level in a major television competition in 1989, I extended the beginning of her career by two years. Because it seems likely to compete until the next Olympics, I’m also extending its timeline to 2024. Because if you’re 31, what’s the next five?
Below is the graphics and I strongly recommend readers to click on it to open a larger version in a new window.
Because I don’t like to write short articles, I will complete this article with some bonus content and publish five photos of Chusovitina, which I absolutely love.
This picture is from 1987 and as far as I know it is the oldest photo of Chusovitina’s career available to gymnastics fans. If this year is correct, Oksana would be about 12 years old at the time the photo was taken.
Oksana Chusovitina at the World Championships in 1991, when she was in fact a novice and one of the most inexperienced gymnasts.
One aspect of Chusovit’s career that is not talked about as much as it should be is that Chusovit’s early career was defined by being part of a program that represented strength in numbers. The origins of Chusovitina were part of the female gymnastics dynasty, where every gymnast knew that no matter how talented she was, there were a dozen teammates who were just as talented. It was a program where everyone was replaceable and no one paid attention only to themselves.
Then Chusovitina ended up in a new show where the reality could not be different. In addition to the change in nationality, the huge difference in wealth / resources of the Uzbek and Soviet programs, add that this change in nationality also meant a new continental championship, Chusovitina also had to adapt to the transition between team dynamics and individual.
It meant the burden of carrying the whole program on my back and never having the opportunity to merge with the shadow. But it also represents a symbolism that when we look at the early years of her career, where Chusovitina was defined as belonging to a team that was bigger than her, in the second half of Oksana’s career it was she who defined her national program (Uzbekistan).
For these reasons, I like to see Chusovitina in the pictures of the Soviet team, because it shows how much her career has changed.
And of course the iconic yin and yang jersey, which is a classic of all time.
Regarding my last picture, I want to point out that even though Chusovitina is a technical gymnast from the 80’s, the age difference from her other competitors never led Oksana not to be in contact with the current generation. Despite her age, Chusovitina’s social media play is as good as your average 16-year-old gymnast, who makes her Parisian quad bike debut.
It should come as no surprise that a gymnast who has adapted to abolishing compulsory insurance, ending traditional horse jumping and introducing open scoring has had no trouble adapting to the rise of social networks. It’s not that the picture above is a great photo in my opinion, it’s that having a strong game on social networks has always been so easy for Chusovitina, and these photos are routine.
Chusovitina’s longevity is one of the greatest athletic performances in the history of the sport, but quietly it is one of the most intelligent athletes in its respective sport. This intelligence is one of the many hidden attributes of Chusovitin. So Oksana has adapted to so many changes and seems to adapt easily to any time. Her intelligence is also seen when Chusovitina is consistently one of the best jokers in the sport and her legendary use of wit. At some point, when an athlete is constantly achieving success and never seems to be fighting in adverse circumstances, it turns out that his mental strength is clearly an essential component of all the achievements he achieves in the field of athletics.
While social media seems like a trivial point to be emphasized in a gymnast’s 31-year career, in my opinion it is a perfect example of Chusovitina’s skills, which go beyond how much physical strength she can develop when trying to jump. Oksana Chusovitina has always been much more than that.