Oksana Chusovitina

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Oksana Chusovitina
— Gymnast —
Oksana Chusovitina (vault) 04-2011.JPG
Chusovitina in 2011
Personal information
Full name Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina
Country represented  Uzbekistan
Former countries represented  Germany
Olympic flag.svg Unified Team
 Soviet Union
Born (1975-06-19) 19 June 1975 (age 38)
Bukhara, Uzbek SSR, USSR
Hometown Köln, Germany
Height 1.53 m (5 ft 0 in)
Weight 44 kg (97 lb)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International
Years on national team 18  Uzbekistan
7  Germany
Club Turnteam Toyota Köln
Head coach(es) Shanna Polyakova
Former coach(es) Svetlana Kuznetsova
Music Phantom of the Opera (1996-2000), The Godfather Theme (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean (2006 & 2008)
Eponymous skills Hop-full pirouette, full out dismount (uneven bars); layout-full out (floor exercise)
World ranking Vault: 1 (2011) 9 (2010)

Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina (Russian: Оксана Александровна Чусовитина; born 19 June 1975 in Bukhara, Uzbek SSR, USSR) is an Olympic medalist and World Champion gymnast who has competed for Germany since 2006. She was formerly a citizen of, and a competitor for, the Soviet Union (before 1993) and Uzbekistan (1993–2006).

To date, Chusovitina's career in elite gymnastics has spanned more than 20 years. She won the USSR Junior Nationals in 1988 and began competing at the international level in 1989, before many of her current rivals were even born. She is the only female gymnast ever to compete in six Olympic Games, and is one of only two female gymnasts to compete at the Olympics under three different national teams: the Unified Team in 1992; Uzbekistan in 1996, 2000 and 2004; and Germany in 2008 and 2012. Chusovitina has also competed in 10 World Championships, three Asian Games and three Goodwill Games. In addition, Chusovitina holds the record for the most individual world championships medals on a single event (9, on the vault).

Chusovitina is also one of only a handful of women, along with Cuban Leyanet Gonzalez, Soviet legend Larisa Latynina, and Dutch Olympian Suzanne Harmes, to return to high-level gymnastics and international competition after becoming a mother. Australia's head women's coach, Peggy Liddick, said Chusovitina is a role model and an inspiration.[1]

Soviet Union[edit]

Chusovitina began gymnastics in 1982.[2] In 1988, at the age of 13, she won the all-around title at the USSR National Championships in the junior division.

By 1990, Chusovitina was a vital member of the Soviet team, and was sent to compete in various international meets. She was the vault gold medalist at the 1990 Goodwill Games and nearly swept the 1990 World Sports Fair in Japan, winning the all-around and every event except the uneven bars. The following year she won the floor exercise at the 1991 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and placed second on the vault. In 1992 Chusovitina competed at the Olympics with the Unified Team, shared in the team gold medal and placed seventh in the floor final. She also won her second World Championships vault medal, a bronze.


After the 1992 Olympics, when the former Soviet gymnasts returned to their home republics, Chusovitina began competing for Uzbekistan and training with the Uzbekistan head coach Svetlana Kuznetsova. Conditions at the national training facility in Tashkent were a far cry from the Soviet Round Lake training center, and Chusovitina was forced to practice on antiquated, and in some cases, unsafe equipment. In spite of this setback, she was able to consistently produce world-class routines.[3][4]

Chusovitina represented Uzbekistan from 1993 to 2006 and competed for them at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics, the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Asian Games and the 1994 and 2001 Goodwill Games. During this era she was the strongest gymnast on the Uzbekistan national team, earning over 70 medals in international competitions and qualifying to the Olympics three times.

For her contributions to gymnastics, Chusovitina was granted the title of "Honored Athlete of the Republic of Uzbekistan" by the Uzbekistan Ministry of Cultural and Sports Affairs.[5] In 2001, she was named as the first WAG representative to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)'s Athletes' Commission.[6] In addition, Chusovitina graduated from the Sports University in Tashkent.[7]

In late 1997 Chusovitina married Uzbekistani Olympic wrestler Bakhodir Kurbanov,[8] whom she first met at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima.[7] The couple's son, Alisher, was born in November 1999.[2][4]


In 2002, Alisher was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).[9] Seeking advanced medical treatment for their son, Chusovitina and her husband accepted an offer of help from Shanna and Peter Brüggemann, head coaches of the Toyota Cologne club, and moved to Germany.[10] With prize money earned from gymnastics competitions, along with the help of the Brüggemanns and members of the international gymnastics community who fundraised and donated to the cause, Chusovitina was able to secure treatment for Alisher at the University of Cologne's hospital. [1][4][11][12] While Alisher underwent treatment in Cologne, Chusovitina trained with the German team.

Uzbekistan released Chusovitina to compete for Germany in 2003. However, due to rules requiring three years of residency, she was unable to gain German citizenship immediately. From 2003 to 2006 she trained in Germany but continued to compete for Uzbekistan, representing them at the 2003 and 2005 World Championships and the 2004 Olympics. In 2003, twelve years after her World Championships debut, Chusovitina won the gold medal on the vault at that year's World Championships in Anaheim.[9]

In 2006, Chusovitina obtained German citizenship.[10] Her first competition for Germany was the 2006 World Championships, where she won a bronze medal on the vault and placed ninth in the all-around.[13]

Recent years[edit]

As of 2012, Chusovitina is still active on the international competition circuit. In July 2007, she won the all-around title at the 2007 German National Championships.[14] At her first European Championships, she placed second on the vault.[15] At the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Chusovitina helped the German squad to a 10th place finish in the preliminary round, which qualified them to send a full team to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where she was the oldest female competitor in her discipline.[4] She qualified for the vault event final where she finished in 2nd place, thus earning the first individual Olympic medal of her career. Chusovitina competed on three events at the 2008 Women's European Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France, helping the German team to a 7th place finish in the team finals. In the vault event final, she defeated reigning European champion Carlotta Giovannini to win the gold medal.[16]

At the 2008 Olympics, the German team placed 12th in the qualifying round of competition. Chusovitina qualified to the individual all-around final, where she placed 9th overall.[17] She also qualified in fourth place for the vault final.[18] In the vault final, she won the silver medal with a score of 15.575.[19]


Despite earlier claims that she would attempt to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Chusovitina announced in April 2009 that she intended to participate in the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships in October, but indicated that she will not continue. The championships, she stated, are "enough." [20]


In 2010 she returned to compete in some competitions in 2010 (including the 2010 Houston National Invitational). She won the silver medal on vault at the 2011 European Championships, the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 European Championships.

Chusovitina competed at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Germany.[21] The games were a remarkable sixth Olympics for Chusovitina, who qualified for vault final where she placed in 5th behind her German teammate, Janine Berger. Afterward Oksana declared she would retire as a gymnast and concentrate on coaching.[22] However, she has since stated she plans to continue competing through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio.[23]


In the floor exercise, Chusovitina is credited as the first woman to successfully perform a layout-full-out on floor.[4] A vault specialist, she is one of only a few top female vaulters in the world who does not perform a Yurchenko style vault.[citation needed] Instead, she competes only front handspring entry and Tsukahara-family vaults. Chusovitina is also credited with two bars moves in the Code of Points: a hop-full pirouette release and a full-out dismount.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pearce, Linda (22 November 2005). "Love for her son drives Olympic medallist on". The Age. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "In our Spotlight: Oksana Chusovitina". International Gymnast. February 2001. Archived from the original on 17 April 2001. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "Photo report on the Tashkent Training Center". Official Team UZB Web. Archived from the original on 1 June 2000. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Turner, Amanda (19 June 2008). "Ageless Chusovitina Turns 33". International Gymnast. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  5. ^ "Our Stars". Ministry of Cultural and Sports Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Archived from the original on 3 September 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "IG Online interview: Oksana Chusovitina". International Gymnast. 2001. Archived from the original on 6 October 2001. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "For petite gymnast, burly wrestler, it was a match made at the Games". Associated Press. 6 October 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  8. ^ Oksana Chusovitina. sports-reference.com
  9. ^ a b "German women, Chusovitina, tune up in Utah". International Gymnast. 31 July 2003. Archived from the original on 27 February 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  10. ^ a b Wessel, Markus (31 January 2007). "Kleine Frau, großes Herz". WDR.DE. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  11. ^ "Gymnastics community rallies to help sick child". International Gymnast. 26 October 2002. Archived from the original on 21 November 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  12. ^ "Oxana Chusovitina spurred on by son's illness". Reuters. October 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  13. ^ "Uzbekistan veteran Chusovitina to compete for Germany". Xinhua/People's Daily Online. 15 October 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  14. ^ "Chusovitina, Hambüchen Win German Nationals". International Gymnast. 22 July 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  15. ^ "Chusovitina springt unglücklich an Gold vorbei". Sport.de. 6 April 2007. Archived from the original on 12 April 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  16. ^ Turner, Amanda (6 April 2008). "Four Nations Golden as Europeans Conclude". International Gymnast. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  17. ^ "Results – All Around Women's Individual Final". The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2008. 
  18. ^ "Team qualifying round apparatus scores". NBC Olympics. 10 August 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008. 
  19. ^ "Vault event final scores". NBC Olympics. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  20. ^ "Chusovitina hat das Ende ihrer Karriere vor Augen". Focus Magazin. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2009. 
  21. ^ Sancetta, Amy (26 July 2012). "At 37, gymnast Chusovitina still a medal contender". USA Today. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  22. ^ Gymnastics: Chusovitina ends inspirational career happy, healthy. Reuters, 5 August 2012
  23. ^ OLYMPIC IDOL AWARD for Oksana Chusovitina ... and her sensational remarks ...! GYMmedia, 31 October 2012

External links[edit]