If you’re anything like me, you spent last night staring at the gymnastics in awe for hours on end as the U.S. ladies team blew everybody out of the water and claimed gold.
But one story which you probably didn’t hear last night was possibly more inspiring than any other at this years Olympic Games in Rio: the story of Oksana Chusovitina.
Oksana is a gymnast; she’s also 41-years-old making her the oldest Olympic female gymnast ever according to the Daily Mail.
The Uzbekistan sportswoman has competed in every Olympic Games since 1992 – but what’s even more fascinating is her reason why.
Oksana is a mother. Her son, Alisher, is 17 – making him closer to his mum’s gymnastic competitors ages than she is.
However when Alisher was just three-years-old he began coughing up blood and was subsequently diagnosed with leukaemia and told he would be dead within a month if he was not given chemotherapy immediately.
Oksana was recommended a top class clinic in Cologne, Germany, however the price of treatment was over £90,000 and she ‘didn’t have a penny’.
Taking things into her own hands, Oksana decided to raise the money the only way she knew how – gymnastics.
Despite selling their family home and being helped out by some friends Oksana still didn’t have enough money for the treatment so decided to move from Uzbekistan to Germany and to compete for them in the gymnastics.
The German sporting authorities then agreed to pay off Alisher’s medical bills.
Speaking about the incident, Oksana said:
I agreed to it only because of my son. Gymnastics is a sport that, when you come to the apparatus, you should not have any extraneous thoughts, otherwise everything ends very badly.
But even then, I could not stop thinking about Alisher. In fact, if I had been injured, my son could not be treated.
Miraculously, now Alisher is ‘cured’ from his leukaemia and is looking to getting a career in the banking world.
What a heartwarming story.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.