Age really is just a number to Oksana Chusovitina — Other gym news — Thoughts from Savannah Schoenherr via the All Things Gymnastics podcast

The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Lela Moore, June 24, 2023

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True story: Whenever I am in the midst of a bruising track workout, like I was Wednesday, I think to myself, “What would Oksana Chusovitina do?” It always helps.

Chuso, as I and much of the gymternet call her, and I are the same age every year for five days, between my birthday on June 14 and hers on June 19. I do a lot of athletic things; I run four or five days a week, I do road races, I swim laps, I take Pilates.

But my body does not do what hers does at our age. And she announced this week she will continue to do those things until gymnastics no longer brings her joy. Chuso is done trying to retire. She is with us for the long haul.

The first time I saw Chuso compete, I had just finished middle school. I was watching the Goodwill Games on television in 1990. I do not remember her exactly, but I remember the event. The Soviet Union would collapse just over a year later. I do remember watching the Unified Team, of which Chuso was a part, win team gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Most of the gymnasts that year were around my age, mid-teens, and that was thrilling to see. Who could have foretold at that time that I would still be seeing a gymnast my age compete thirty years later?

We know a lot more now about what gymnastics culture was like then, and it did not improve a whole lot over the course of Chuso’s ongoing career. To see someone emerge from so many piles of ashes so many times is…I’d say inspiring, but I don’t want to give the idea that you have to suffer to be inspiring. But it seems obvious that she has forged her own path and been more in control of her career and her training than not, because of her sheer endurance in the sport, and that is inspiring.

Chuso claims that one thing that has kept her going is her love of the sport. I would argue, too, that it’s her willingness to change. She has kept abreast of code changes, scoring changes, equipment changes, and multiple nationality changes and the dealings with various national federations that must involve. She has learned new skills (and named several of her own) and adapted her best event, vault, to win multiple medals on it at major events in every quad since she began competing internationally. The vault is a completely different piece of equipment now than it was when she started in the sport! That’s crazy to think about.

And this year, despite notably disliking bars, she has very likely qualified to worlds this fall on that event. If that’s not willingness to change and grow, I don’t know what is. 

I will never be a legend on the track, but if I can channel Chuso’s energy, flexibility, and, yes, love of her sport, when I’m out there, I can’t go wrong. 

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Other gym news

Jordan Chiles is a Nike athlete, her mom Gina reports.

The 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials will be held in Minneapolis. Suni Lee, notable St. Paul resident, is pretty stoked.

Bailey Lovett wrote a statement explaining her retirement from Arkansas’ gymnastics team. 

Tori Loomis, a former Utah State gymnast, wrote a statement critical of her former coach and current Clemson head coach Amy Smith. Clemson, you okay? 

The Balance Beam Situation gave us the latest worlds qualifications news

The Gymternet gave us the Asian Championships results and Lauren wrote her own take on worlds qualifications

I liked this Reddit thread dissecting what gymnastic trends of this quad need to go in the next.

There might be a professional gymnastics league? I gotta do some more research on this.

Myia Hambrick will be an assistant coach at Utah next season. 

And Kyla Bryant is headed to the assistant coach job at Arkansas. Double the Kyla, double the fun, I say. 

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Five at The IX: Savannah Schoenherr on All Things Gymnastics

The ladies at All Things Gymnastics spoke with Schoenherr last month about her transfer from Florida to LSU. I interviewed Schoenherr myself back in January, just two days before she broke her foot and announced she was out for the season. I enjoyed listening to her talk about the loss of that fifth year of competition and her decision to transfer, and thought you all might too!

Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Lela Moore