Oksana “Chuso” Chusovitina, the 46-year-old gymnastics phenom who has competed in eight Olympic games representing the Soviet Union, Germany, and Uzbekistan, retired on Sunday after the qualifying round of the Tokyo Olympics.
Sports Illustrated, which is now a feminist publication because they put Megan Thee Stallion on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue, chose staff writer Brian Cazeneuve to honor Chuso (I call her Chuso now, too) (I read Sports Illustrated now too, but only for the illustrations, I swear). The article was written before Sunday’s event in which Chuso’s scores were deemed too low to carry on in the Tokyo Games, but the article is still worth reading.
Cazeneuve compares Chuso to a horse and then makes a bunch of hack jokes that I only understand from watching a season-and-a-half of Stranger Things:
“On Sunday, Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina will compete at the Tokyo Olympics at age 46, or approximately 847 in equestrian years. When Chusovitina was born in 1975, it was the era of 8-track tapes and Magic 8-balls. Nobody was dispensing PEDs, but PEZ dispensers were everywhere.”
Describing how Chuso responded to a journalist’s question that she was too old even for the Sydney Games in 2000, Cazeneuve draws a parallel between Chuso and another woman whose beauty and vitality shrank up and gnarled over until she became a sad old slut in her twilight years:
“Since then, Chusovitina endured operations on her back, a shoulder and an ankle, and was done with gymnastics more often than Elizabeth Taylor was done with husbands. (Chusovitina says, again, that these Olympics will be her last.)”
He finishes out the piece by alluding to menopause, I think?
“Should she qualify among the top eight vaulters (maximum two per country) on Sunday, Chusovitina will compete in the finals a week later, indifferent to the internal clock that stopped running years ago.”
Chuso is retiring to focus on being a mother and a wife (to a Greco-Roman Olympic wrestler), who will hopefully have her on a funeral pyre at the next Olympics