Gymnast has an eighth Olympics in her sights - at the age of 44

Oksana Chusovitina has competed in seven Olympic games (PA Images)
Oksana Chusovitina has competed in seven Olympic games (PA Images)
8:08am, Fri 04 Oct 2019
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

A 44-year-old is competing in the World Gymnastics Championships this week in a bid to qualify for her eighth Olympic games.

Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina is in Stuttgart alongside Simone Biles and Ellie Downie - who are less than half her age.

Throughout her extensive career Chusovitina has ranked best in the world for vault, won two Olympic, 11 World Championship and eight Asia games medals (as well as many others).

The gymnast said: “I competed at seven Olympic Games. I won a gold medal for the Soviet Union, I won a [silver] medal for the country that helped me – Germany. 

"But I’ve never won a medal for Uzbekistan. That’s my dream – an Olympic medal for Uzbekistan. When I was thinking after Rio whether to retire or not, I realised that I still can, I have the energy. I thought that if I don’t try again, I will regret it for the rest of my life,” Chusovitina told The Telegraph.

She did contemplate retiring after attempting the dangerous Produnova on the vault at Rio. The handspring double front salto vault was something even Biles refused to try after famously proclaiming "I'm not trying to die". 

Chusovitina has her eyes firmly on the Olympic prize for now, but what will retirement bring her?

Chusovitina said: “I definitely won’t become a politician, that’s not for me. I want to develop children’s sports in Uzbekistan, specifically gymnastics, which in my opinion is the start for every other sport. It’s important for me to leave a legacy behind.”

Sign up to our newsletter