Olympics Notebook

5 Games, 3 teams, 1st medal

Oksana Chusovitina vaulted her way to an Olympic medal, for Germany, by way of Uzbekistan and the former Soviet Union.
Oksana Chusovitina vaulted her way to an Olympic medal, for Germany, by way of Uzbekistan and the former Soviet Union. (Reuters Photo)
From Wire Reports / August 18, 2008
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Oksana Chusovitina anxiously watched the scoreboard, then pumped her fist when her mark was shown.

The first five-time Olympian in women's gymnastics history won her first individual medal when she earned silver in vault.

"The medal is for my son," she said.


It's been a long journey through three countries for Chusovitina, who now competes for Germany as a tribute to the nation that was so kind to her when her 3-year-old son Alisher was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002.

She went to three Olympics with her native Uzebekistan, from 1996 to 2004, and earned a gold medal in team competition while competing for the unified former Soviet Union in her 1992 games debut.

In 2002, she accepted an offer to seek advanced medical care for Alisher in Germany. Relocating to Cologne meant Chusovitina could train with the German national team as she raised money in that country for Alisher's treatment.

When his leukemia went into remission, Chusovitina asked for, and was granted, her release from the Uzbek team so she could compete for Germany.

Bulgarian coach takes blame

The coach for Bulgarian middle-distance runner Daniela Yordanova said he was responsible for her positive doping test. Yordanova was banned Friday after she tested positive for testosterone June 13. "It was a big shock for me, but I should say I am fully responsible for Daniela's positive test," Dimitar Vasilev said. "I've always tried to buy medicines for her physical recovery from well-known companies. But last spring, I bought some medical goods from Greece and Turkey and most probably they caused the problem. Obviously, she consumed some contaminated food supplements."

Keeping it (very) brief

Beijing organizers and the International Olympic Committee haven't had to answer tough questions at their daily news briefings lately: They haven't held them. Officials called off yesterday's scheduled news conference, which followed the cancellation of the Saturday briefing. IOC and Beijing officials were on the defensive last week fielding questions about air pollution, protests, ticket scalping, and free-press issues. Following a contentious session Friday, officials called off the Saturday session because, organizing committee spokesman Sun Weide said, everything "has been running very smoothly." . . . The fight against ambush marketing has taken the IOC right into the bathroom stalls. Brands of fixtures and fittings that aren't made by official sponsors, including toilet bowls and paper dispensers, are covered by gray tape at venues. Patrols are dispatched daily to ensure they stay that way, Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of IOC marketing commission, said. The committee's 12 international sponsors paid an average $72 million for rights to use the five-ringed logo in advertising in the four years up to and including the Beijing Games . . . TheColorOrange, a group encouraging athletes to wear orange in protest of China's human-rights policies, sent congratulations to Rafael Nadal on his orange headband and wristband. But Nadal said he's unfamiliar with the group and is not involved in any protest. In fact, the orange may actually be yellow. "It's the colors of Spain," he said. "I think the bandanna and the wristbands are yellow. But when I sweat, it turns orange."

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