We received remarkably few comments on our most recent entry on Oksana Chusovitina, in which we told you that she was going to coach the Uzbek girls while continuing to compete for Germany herself. Perhaps the lack of comments was due to the fact that you didn't actually believe the story. That wouldn't surprise us. To be honest, we had a hard time believing the news ourselves, despite the fact that it came from a source we consider reliable (Chusovitina's own team).
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
We have now received a confirmation of sorts. One of our readers posted our story on the WWGym message board, where it was picked up by a poster called SFPFCT10, who is in touch with now former Uzbek national head coach Svetlana Kuznetsova. After reading the news, SFPFCT10 e-mailed Kuznetsova to ask if it was true. She confirmed the story, after which SFPFCT10 posted her e-mail on the message board, apparently with Kuznetsova's consent.
Judging from the e-mail, Kuznetsova does not bear Chusovitina any grudges for replacing her as the national head coach under such unusual circumstances (the e-mail ends with a sincere wish for Chusovitina's well-being). However, she does express bafflement at the new arrangements, which she feels are unworkable, and added that not all the national team members will join the training camp which Chusovitina is supposed to supervise in Germany in early February. According to Kuznetsova, six girls and one acrobat will fly to Germany, without their personal coaches (i.e. without Kuznetsova herself or her assistant, her daughter Elena). Apparently Luiza Galiulina, Uzbekistan's sole representative in Beijing (60th in prelims), will not be among the six girls who will make the trip to Germany. According to Kuznetsova, Galiulina will stay in Tashkent, where Kuznetsova herself will prepare her for the Cottbus Grand Prix.
We can't help sharing some of Kuznetsova's concern at the new situation. We have no idea how Chusovitina is supposed to coach the Uzbek team while representing Germany herself. Unless the Uzbek girls and their personal coaches move to Germany for a longer period of time, the plan doesn't sound feasible to us.
However, one thing is for sure: Chusovitina keeps making history. We don't think any athlete before her has represented one country while coaching another country's team. If you know of any precedents, do let us know!