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Legendary Uzbek Athlete Chusovitina Says Tokyo Games, Her Eighth, Will Be Her Last

Oksana Chusovitina trains in Tashkent in January 2020.
Oksana Chusovitina trains in Tashkent in January 2020.

Legendary Uzbek gymnast Oksana Chusovitina says her record eighth Olympic Games in Tokyo will be her last.

The 46-year-old athlete, who will carry Uzbekistan's national flag at the July 23 opening ceremonies for the Olympics, said she will stop competing to spend more time with her 22-year-old son, Alisher, who recently completed college.

"I want to be a mom and wife," Chusovitina said.

A native of Uzbekistan's ancient city of Bukhara, Chusovitina is breaking her own record for Olympic gymnastics appearances by taking part in the Tokyo Games.

She began her career competing for the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chusovitina represented the Unified Team of the former Soviet republics, Uzbekistan, and Germany before going back to Uzbekistan.

She competed for Germany after living in the country during the medical treatment her son received there when he had leukemia as a child.

Chusovitina owns two Olympic medals -- a team gold in Barcelona in 1992 and silver in the vault at Beijing in 2008.

Chusovitina also has several world championship medals for the vault and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2017.

She needs to finish in the top eight during qualifying on July 25 to advance to the finals scheduled for August 1.

Based on reporting by AP, UZA, and USA Today

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