Lina Cheryazova dies at the age of 50
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died at the age of 50.
Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died "following a lengthy illness," without giving further details.
Competing for newly independent Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold when aerials skiing became an official Olympic event — it had earlier been a demonstration sport — in 1994 in Lillehammer.
Competing despite a training injury, Cheryazova pulled off a triple flip to win gold by less than one point despite nearly falling on the landing.
Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before. Her mother had been severely wounded in an industrial accident and reportedly asked that Cheryazova not be told of her death until after the competition.
She retired after the 1998 Winter Olympics, where she failed to qualify for the final. Cheryazova remains Uzbekistan’s only medallist at the Winter Olympics, and the only woman to win a gold medal at the Summer or Winter Olympics for the Central Asian nation.