Eight-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina received a standing ovation after competing in vault during the women’s artistic gymnastics qualifications Sunday in Tokyo.
After two vault attempts, Chusovitina earned a score of 14.166, which wasn’t enough for her to qualify for the event final. ESPN reported that once Chusovitina realized her score wouldn’t get her to the final, she waved to the small crowd and cried before posing for photographs with many of her peers. The Olympic legend got a standing ovation of applauds and cheers from her fellow gymnastics teammates and opponents.
The International Federation of Gymnastics tweeted that there was “not a dry eye in the house” as Chusovitina took her bow after the qualifying round.
Chusovitina made her Olympic debut in 1992 as an athlete from the former Soviet Union, ESPN reported. She later represented Uzbekistan and Germany — making her one of two women athletes to represent three different countries during the Games, according to the same ESPN article.
In a sport that traditionally is dominated by youth, Chusovitina has proven her longevity by winning 11 world medals and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2017, according to ESPN.
Members of the competitive gymnastics community celebrated Chusovitina’s career online — including former Team USA gymnast and Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, who shared a video on Twitter of Chusovitina competing at the 1992 Olympics.
“Oksana Chusovitina 1992 Olympics floor. This is Oksana Chusovitina 8th Olympics!! No words to describe how impressive that is. Forever an icon,” Raisman tweeted.
Oksana Chusovitina 1992 Olympics floor. This is Oksana Chusovitina 8th Olympics!! No words to describe how impressive that is. Forever an icon. Wishing Oksana the best of luck! I’m so excited to watch. pic.twitter.com/bif8O8ZTna— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) July 24, 2021
According to the website for the Olympics, Chusovitina, who was born in Uzbekistan, secured team gold in Barcelona 1992, silver in Beijing 2008, two World Cup medals, four Asian Championship medals, eight Asian Games medals, and four European Championship medals.
Chusovitina has a 22-year-old son, Alisher, with her husband and former Olympic wrestler Bakhodir Kurbanov.
Chusovitina previously announced that she would retire after the 2012 London Olympics, but didn’t stay away for long.
In 2016, she finished seventh in the vault event that Simone Biles won. Although she did not medal in Rio de Janeiro, she stood on the podium as an excited audience watched a highlight reel of her greatest moments, the outlet reported.
“On the podium, everyone is the same, whether you are 40 or 16,” Chusovitina said at the time, Olympics reported.
After hinting at retirement over the years, Chusovitina recently said the Tokyo Olympics would be her last.
“I think it’s time now, really,” Chusovitina told reporters, according to an article from The Washington Post. “I want to be a mom and a wife.”