Date : 27 Apr 2019
April 27, 2019: Sports is defined by the greatness of people who play it and each sport has a legend of its own. They increase the popularity of the sport and also carve a legacy of their own. Some even end up breaking their own record in a show of command and expertise. In Gymnastics, we have a legend who ticks off all these boxes.
Her name is Oksana Chusovitina. Born in the Soviet Union, Oksana has represented Uzbekistan and Germany along with her birth country as well. Winning medals and accolades aplenty, her greatness is defined not just through her on-field achievements, but also from her real life persona. We recently sat down with Oksana for a chat and here are some excerpts:
Q. How has the game evolved over the years?
A. It has changed a lot. In my opinion, more countries are participating, level of difficulty is tremendous and it becomes more and more exciting to participate as an athlete and watch as a spectator.
Q. You have been an inspiration to athletes of all generations, but who is your inspiration?
A. I am honoured and flattered at the same time to know that I am an inspiration for many generations of athletes. My idol was and is, my former teammate from Soviet Union, World and Olympic Champion, Svetlana Boguinskaia. I looked up to her when I was a young girl and these days we are the best of friends.
Q. What has been your favourite memory till now?
A. I will always treasure the memory of the phone call from the doctor letting me know that my son, Alisher was leukemia free.
In case you didn’t know: In 2002, Alisher was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. For the treatment of their son, Oksana and her husband accepted an offer of help and moved to Germany at the Cologne club. Eventually, she obtained German citizenship and stated representing that country.
Q. Vault or beam or floor, what is your personal favourite? Or all of them have the same place in your heart?
A. My personal favourite event is Vault because I am very good at it (laughs)! To be honest, I do enjoy training for every event with all my heart.
Q. How did you get into gymnastics?
A. I started gymnastics by accident. My brother was a gymnast and one day instead of staying home alone, I went with him to the gym. While he has quit long time ago, I am still doing gymnastics :)
Q. What is it like when you’re doing gymnastics?
A. Many things actually! Training and competing gives me excitement, adrenaline, rush, pleasure, satisfaction, challenge, joy and pure love. I love doing this sport more than anything!
Q. How are you preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
A. I am training hard and taking preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games very seriously. From planning not only my training, but also nutritious meals, physical therapy, sauna to relax my muscles and proper amount of sleep time. I am not only planning to qualify for my 8th Olympics, but also hoping to be a contender and fight for podium standings.
Q. Do you have any particular superstitions?
A. No, I don’t. I believe only in myself! I am my own superstition :)
Q. How do you think the Olympic Council of Asia and Asian Games contribute to an athlete's development?
A. Asian Games play a big part in developing sports in Asia, especially gymnastics. Any sport leads to a better and healthier lifestyle.
In a career that has spanned for almost 30 years and one that has seen her represent three countries, Oksana’s hunger for excellence and success has never died away. We give her the best regards and wish to see her winning more medals in the future.
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