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The Historic Significance of Oksana Chusovitina Successful a World Cup Medal at 47 Years Previous – An Previous Faculty Gymnastics Weblog

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On the 2023 Cottbus World Cup Oksana Chusovitina received a bronze medal on vault at 47 years previous. This was truly a milestone achievement in Chusovitina’s legendary profession. For readers of this text questioning why Oksana profitable World Cup medals at 47 years previous in 2023 is any completely different from when she received World Cup medals in 2022 on the age of 46, the historic significance is who she competed in opposition to.

-1st place went to 16 yr previous Manila Esposito (Italy)

-2nd place went to fifteen yr previous Ruby Evans (Nice Britain)

-4th place went to 16 yr previous Laia Font (Spain)

The mixed ages of those three gymnasts (16 + 15 + 16) is 47 which suggests Oksana Chusovitina received a medal in an occasion the place she was the COMBINED age of the three highest scoring rivals. It additionally ought to be famous that the subsequent highest scoring competitor was Alice Vlkova (Czech Republic) who met the minimal age standards by solely two days and was simply six weeks previous her fifteenth birthday. In the meantime Laia Font celebrated her sixteenth birthday the day earlier than she arrived on the Cottbus World Cup.

Title Date of Start Age at Cottbus
Manila Esposito November 2, 2006 16 and  3 months
Ruby Evans March 17, 2007 15 and 11 months
Oksana Chusovitina June 19, 1975 47 and eight months
Laia Font February 20, 2007 16 and 4 days
Alice Vlkova December 30, 2007 15 and 1 month
Laura Casabuena December 26, 2005 17 and 1 month
Agata Vostruchovaite December 2, 2000 22 and a couple of months
Dildora Aripova January 29, 2004 19 and 1 month

In a profession marked with legendary longevity, vault finals on the 2023 Cottbus World Cup may need been essentially the most lopsided age hole in Chusovitina’s complete profession. It’s much more spectacular when contemplating this didn’t occur at some casual meet the place juniors and seniors are allowed to compete collectively, however at an FIG affiliated World Cup.

It’s particularly ironic that Chusovitina did this at Cottbus of all locations. This specific competitors has a particular place in Chusovitina’s gymnastics legacy. It was at Cottbus all the best way again in 1989 {that a} younger, 13 yr previous Chusovitina made her first look in a serious, televised competitors. Earlier than Cottbus-1989 Oksana Chusovitina was a whole unknown to the gymnastics neighborhood. Her solely outcomes previous to Cottbus-1989 are a collection of obscure Soviet home competitions with little file preservation related to them. For anybody trying to monitor the profession of Oksana Chusovitina, Cottbus-1989 is basically the place her story begins.

Identical to Cottbus-2023, Oksana Chusovitina additionally received a medal at Cottbus-1989. Though again then Chusovitina was a standout gymnast on ground, reasonably than the vaulting prowess she is understood for in fashionable instances. At Cottbus-1989 Chusovitina received a silver medal on ground train and completed ninth within the All-Round. Between her leads to 1989 and 2023, Chusovitina has medals at Cottbus that have been received 34 years other than one another.

Laia Font (left) and Oksana Chusovitina (proper) at Cottbus-2023. Laia posted this picture to her social media with the caption “31 years older than me!”

To place “34 years” into context, the star of Cottbus-1989 was Brandy Johnson who received a gold medal on all 5 occasions. Brandy Johnson now has a daughter named Sydney Johnson-Scharpf who additionally grew to become a member of the American nationwide crew and an NCAA gymnast. Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, the daughter of Chusovitina’s prime competitor from Cottbus-1989 is older than the entire gymnasts who competed in opposition to Oksana in vault finals at Cottbus-2023.

The 2 oldest gymnasts in vault finals at Cottbus-2023 have been 19 yr previous Dildora Aripova (Uzbekistan) and 22 yr previous Agata Vostruchovaite (Lithuania). When their two ages are mixed, their mixed age (41) continues to be six years youthful than Chusovitina.

Chusovitina’s private historical past with Cottbus goes again to this point in time, that when she made her first look at this competitors the fashionable World Cup format that will finally take up Cottbus hadn’t but been created. Again then semi-major occasions just like the Cottbus Worldwide have been impartial. Like Chusovitina, the Cottbus Worldwide survived into the fashionable age. Even whereas the overwhelming majority of its modern competitions (American Cup, Moscow Information, Riga Worldwide and Chunichi Cup) not exist.

Oksana Chusovitina (L) and Dildora Aripova (R)

In 1989 the Cottbus Worldwide was the premier competitors of East Germany, a rustic that not exists. When Oksana Chusovitina competed in 1989, she did so whereas representing the Soviet Union, a rustic that additionally not exists. Chusovitina is so previous, that she as soon as competed at Cottbus at an age that was youthful than any of the Cottbus-2023 rivals she now dwarfs in age.

Again within the 1989 it was frequent for gymnasts as younger as 13 years previous to compete straight in opposition to Olympians in competitions that have been prestigious sufficient to be televised and coated by worldwide sports activities media. At 13 years previous Chusovitina was a teen, however she was certainly not the youngest gymnast to ever be inserted into such a contest. Generally the ages would go as younger as 10, 11, or 12 years previous. The tactic peaked in reputation proper across the time Chusovitina first appeared in Cottbus-1989.

In 1988 Annia Hatch who was representing Cuba and solely 10 years previous on the time managed to compete straight in opposition to a number of gymnasts who competed on the 1988 Olympics. The following yr in 1989 a now 11 yr previous Annia Hatch visited each China and the Soviet Union to compete of their prime competitions. As for america, in 1988 Shannon Miller was solely three months previous her eleventh birthday when she appeared within the Junior Pan American Gymnastics Championships. North Korea’s Kim Gwang Suk who was caught up in an age falsification scandal on the 1991 World Championships, had truly competed at Cottbus all the best way again in 1988. Kim Gwang Suk’s age is unknown, however she was most definitely across the similar age as Annia Hatch and Shannon Miller, if not youthful than that in her Cottbus look.

Kim Gwang Suk (4th from left) at 1988 Cottbus

Oksana Chusovitina was the kid gymnast who got here of age in an period the place statistically the common age of the game was at its absolute youngest. She overcame an period the place gymnasts have been inspired to retire younger and went on to have the longest profession within the historical past of high-level gymnastics. Cottbus has at all times been a core a part of Chusovitina’s story. Oksana has competed at Cottbus as each a 13 yr previous and a 47 yr previous. In Chusovitina’s lengthy profession she has competed at Cottbus a minimal of 21 instances and it was Cottbus the place her high-level worldwide profession began. Oksana Chusovitina is now greater than 3 times her personal age from her first look to her most up-to-date look at Cottbus.

As for Cottbus, the whole lot about it’s now completely different. From its incorporation into the World Cup, to the All-Round being dropped from the format, or its now strict age necessities that will by no means enable a 13 yr previous to compete, the one factor that is still the identical is “Cottbus.” It’s a competitors that has stood the take a look at of time, however has been compelled to fully rework itself with the intention to keep its place in an ever-changing world.

Maybe there isn’t any irony about it. Cottbus and Chusovitina have been round for therefore lengthy, they now signify the identical cussed refusal to fade into obscurity. Their symbolism has now develop into interchangeable.

Oksana Chusovitina on the 2023 Cottbus World Cup


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