When Uzbekistani gymnast, Oksana Chusovitina competed in her first Olympics in 1992, three-time world champ Simone Biles, wasn't even born yet. Last night, the 41-year-old mom(!) scored an incredible 14.999 on the vault, ranking fifth overall, qualifying for the finals once again.
Born in Koln, Germany, Oksana first competed in the Olympics as part of the Unified Team in 1992, where she won gold for the all-around team category. She then competed for Uzbekistan in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympics. On top of her impressive Olympic record, Oksana also has several World and European Championship medals under belt. That said, competing into her 40s was never part of the plan.
In 2002, her only son, Alisher, was diagnosed with leukemia at just 3-years-old. After being offered treatment in Germany, Oksana and her family moved to accommodate his condition. To thank Germany for its kindness, the grateful mom began competing for the country in 2006, winning a silver medal for the vault at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She also competed for them at the 2012 London Games.
Considering her debt repaid, Oksana qualified for an individual spot on the Uzbekistani team at the 2016 Olympic Games. "I really love the sport," she told USA Today through a translator. "I love to give pleasure to the public. I love to come out and perform for the public and for the fans."
Refusing to put and expiration date on her career, we wouldn't be surprised if we saw Oksana compete at the 2020 Tokyo Games as well. Till then, we can't wait to see her compete in the vault finals on Sunday, Aug 14.