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48-year-old gymnast Oksana Chusovitina’s Olympic dream and history bid ended by injury

48-year-old gymnast Oksana Chusovitina’s Olympic dream and history bid ended by injury

Uzbekistan gymnast Oksana Chusovitina had been aiming to compete at her ninth consecutive Olympic Games later this year, but the 48-year-old’s hopes of securing a spot in Paris have been dashed by injury.

Chusovitina revealed on Instagram on Thursday that she had suffered the injury while training for the Asian Gymnastic Championships, which are currently being held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Per Olympics.com, Chusovitina needed to compete and finish as the highest eligible athlete in the all-around standings in order to qualify for Paris 2024 and make a record-equaling ninth straight Olympic appearance.

“My dear friends, fans and everyone who loves Gymnastics! Unfortunately, I have some sad news for you,” she wrote. “Yesterday, while training on the podium of the Asian Championships, which is taking place in Tashkent and is a qualifying event for the Olympic Games in Paris, I was injured during the floor exercise.

“I will not be able to take part and I am very upset as I have been preparing for this competition for a long time. I started doing all-around and I wanted to perform in our country, in front of our fans. But, unfortunately, tomorrow you will not see me among the participants.

“I would like to express my gratitude to all of you, but you can come and support our girls. That’s what I’m going to do tomorrow!” she added.

Chusovitina competes in the vault event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. - William West/AFP/Getty Images
Chusovitina competes in the vault event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. - William West/AFP/Getty Images

Chusovitina made her Olympic debut in 1992 in Barcelona as a member of the “Unified Team.” The delegation was made up of former Soviet republics – aside from the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – which had elected to compete as one unit after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

She won a gold medal in the team all-around competition that year and has competed in every Summer Games since then.

Chusovitina’s second and only other medal came in 2008 in Beijing in the vault. She competed as a German athlete – the third different team she had represented at the Games – on that occasion and subsequently in London in 2012 after obtaining citizenship. She switched back to Uzbekistan for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

Chusovitina won the Uzbekistan all-around title in April in what was a boost to her Olympic hopes at the time, besting Lobar Amrillaeva, who was born in 2006 – the 48-year-old had appeared at her fourth Summer Games two years prior.

However, even if she had qualified for Paris 2024, she would not have been a record holder for very long. The title currently belongs to Georgian shooter Nino Salukvadze, who has competed at every Summer Games since first appearing in Seoul in 1988, where she won a gold medal on debut.

The 54-year-old Salukvadze secured a qualifying spot last year, meaning that she will extend her record in Paris and become the first athlete ever to qualify for 10 consecutive Olympics.

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