Miller eyes off artistic experience

Published 5 August 2016 (AEDT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 31: Larrissa Miller of Australia practices during an Artistic Gymnastic training session at the Athletes Park on July 31, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. © 2016 Getty Images

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICSAustralian gymnast Larrissa Miller will have the rare honour of competing alongside the oldest female gymnast in Olympic history on Sunday when the qualifying round of the women's artistic gymnastics is staged in Rio.

Miller, 24, will compete in her second Olympic Games in the same group as Russian-born Oksana Chusovitina, 41, who will be contesting her seventh successive Olympic Games, having made her debut in 1992 – the year Miller was born.

Chusovitina, an Olympic gold medallist (team event 1992) and triple world vault champion will compete for Uzbekistan for the fourth time this Olympics (1996, 2000, 2004, 2016) after representing Germany in 2008 and 2012 and the Unified Team (USSR, in 1992).

She will contest the vault, in which she won a silver Olympic medal in 2008, and the beam, while Miller will contest the uneven bars and floor in the qualification round on Day Two (Sunday, August 7, 7.55-11.15am).

Rowing pictogram

Today Miller completed her podium session alongside Chusovitina for the first time in her career.

“I was impressed with the way she carries herself in the gym … she moves with such confidence and calmness,” Miller said.

“It helped me; it was like a calming effect.

“I love that she is breaking boundaries with the age barrier and what she has achieved and continues to achieve.

“Knowing the sacrifices and commitment it has taken to make two Olympic Games, for Oksana to maintain that for seven Olympics is phenomenal.

“She has been training at that level for my entire life. It is an incredible achievement.”

While Chusovitina is the oldest competitor, the youngest artistic gymnast at the Rio Olympics is Belgium’s Senna Derek, who just qualifies, celebrating her 16th birthday on December 30.

Tracie Edmondson
olympics.com.au

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