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Oksana Chusovitina, 46-year-old gymnast, ends historic career

The 46-year-old from Uzbekistan did not qualify for the gymnastics final at her record eighth Olympics.

WASHINGTON — Olympic legend Oksana Chusovitina's journey is over.

The 46-year-old from Uzbekistan did not qualify during the vault final at her record eighth Olympics.

Athletes, judges and administrators rose to their feet to salute Chusovitina as she made her way off the floor. She waved to the crowd with tears in her eyes before posing for pictures with whoever wanted one.

“I’m saying goodbye to sports,” Chusovitina said. “It’s kind of mixed feelings. I’m alive, I’m happy, I’m here without any injuries, and I can stand on my own.”

Chusovitina has won a pair of Olympic medals during her long career.

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She was part of the Russian Federation team that captured gold in 1992. She later added a silver medal on vault while competing for Germany in 2008.

Chusovitina says she wants to spend more time with her 22-year-old son Alisher, who recently completed college.

She credits gymnastics for helping save Alisher’s life as a child. Alisher was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3. Chusovitina moved to Germany to give him access to treatment and used the living she made there as a gymnast to help pay for his care.

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Where is Uzbekistan? It's a landlocked country in Central Asia bordered in the west and north by Kazakhstan. In the east, it's bordered by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and in the south, it's bordered by Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. 

Credit: AP
Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina acknowledges those present after performing on the vault during the women's artistic gymnastic qualifications, her eighth Olympics participation, at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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