“How can someone her age dare to do that to their body?” jokes the legendary Nadia Comaneci, who won three gold medals at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal at the age of 14 – and then retired at the age of 19.
–Daily Telegraph on Uzbekistan gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, Aug. 8, 2016.
Even the legendary Nadia Comaneci, with her string of perfect 10s in Montreal at age 14 — before, sadly the scoring system was changed — is astonished by Chusovitina’s longevity. “How can someone her age dare to do that to their body?” she joked.
–Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star, Aug. 14, 2016.
And she found that, unlike young gymnasts, who need to spend hours on end training their muscle memory and aerial awareness, she had been doing it so long she barely needed to train.“I do a lot of mental training,” she told ESPN recently. “I typically put in two hours in the gym. Then I visualise exactly how the skill needs to be done, and I know exactly what my body needs to be doing.
–Telegraph, Aug. 8.
“I do a lot of mental training,” Chusovitina recently told ESPN, the mind more important apparently than the body and relying on muscle memory, although she typically puts in two hours daily training. “Then I visualize exactly how the skill needs to be done and I know exactly what my body needs to be doing.”
–DiManno, Aug. 8.
She has not yet torn her biceps, her Achilles, her cruciate ligament. She does not know that she will marry an Uzbekistani wrestler called Bakhodir, and that they will have a son whose childhood leukaemia will make her sick with worry. She does not know that they will be forced to emigrate to Cologne for his treatment and that she will become a German citizen…..Yet Barcelona remains her only Olympic gold to date. Afterwards she returned to her birth country of Uzbekistan, where she toiled for years in a substandard gym with rusty bars and bent cables.
–Telegraph, Aug. 8.
Along the way, Chusovitina has torn her bicep, her Achilles and her cruciate ligament. To say nothing of the ordinary physical erosion that comes with the passage of years…Over the course of her competitive life, the remarkable Chusovitina has flown under the flag of the Soviet Union (as a junior), the United Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics — where she shared team gold — Germany (where she moved and took out citizenship, seeking treatment for her son’s childhood leukemia; it was successful) — and now Uzbekistan, where she was born and where she grew up toiling in substandard gyms.
–DiManno, Aug. 14.