- UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi made waves when her astounding, perfect-score floor routine in a January competition went viral.
- The gymnast began her career at age three, and was poised for Olympic stardom by her early teens.
- After winning the prestigious American Cup in 2013, beating out teammate and future Olympian Simone Biles, she suffered a series of injuries that would force her to step away from the sport.
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Star UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi made waves when her inspired, full-of-joy floor routine at a January 2019 competition in Anaheim, California, took the internet by storm. The video of the routine has now been shared more than 40 million times.
But while the star athlete spent most of her life competing and excelling in the sport, her journey was not always easy. After tremendous, nationwide success in her teens, Ohashi ultimately decided to step away from elite gymnastics.
From beating out Olympian Simone Biles in a 2013 national competition to becoming a collegiate athlete beloved by celebs countrywide, here are 9 things you didn’t know about Katelyn Ohashi.
1. Ohashi began doing gymnastics at age 3
At only three years old, Ohashi stepped into the sport she’d ultimately become famous for, those around her quickly recognising her athletic prowess, natural abilities, and star potential.
2. In 2013 and at 16 years old, Ohashi won the American Cup, an elite international gymnastics competition, beating out future Olympian Simone Biles
The American Cup is an all-around competition (as opposed to one focused on a specific event). “She is,” commented one of the announcers during her 2013 beam routine, “world class.”
3. That same year, she was told she might never do gymnastics again
After sustaining back and shoulder injuries and conferring with multiple doctors, Ohashi was told she might never do gymnastics again. Though the sport had been her life for so many years, getting the news and being forced to step away were ultimately a gift.
“I just remember being so unhappy and in so much pain,” she told INSIDER about the year she won the American Cup, filled with the strain of constantly pushing herself to excel. “Hearing that was probably a relief – like pressure was lifted off my shoulders.”
4. She attended UCLA on a full gymnastics scholarship
Having taken some time to reassess what gymnastics meant to her (and deciding to forgo the elite, Olympic-level route), Ohashi applied to UCLA, which is ranked No. 2 in the country for its women’s gymnastics program by the College Gymnastics Association. She’d continue her career, but on a college level and only for those four remaining years.
Knowing her time in the sport would soon come to an end “allowed me to pour my heart and soul into it,” she said. Her advice to anyone doing gymnastics? “Make sure you do it for you.”
5. It took six people to build her viral floor routine
The team included famed UCLA gymnastics coach Miss Val, several of Ohashi’s teammates, Ohashi herself, and an alum.
6. She enjoys competing exactly as much as it looks like she does
“Competing is literally one of my favourite things about gymnastics,” she said, “being on the floor and kind of feeding off the energy that the audience brings.”
7. Her fans include Janet Jackson, Senator Kamala Harris, and Busy Philipps
8. She wants to create a nonprofit and safe house for survivors of domestic abuse
Ohashi graduates from UCLA on June 13, and plans to work at a gymnastics camp and do speaking engagements in the coming months. Long-term, she’s passionate about working with survivors of domestic abuse, and hopes to work toward changing the laws around abuse.
9. Her dream is to be on “Dancing with the Stars”
Nothing’s been announced just yet, but keep your eyes peeled for a possible young gymnast among the lineup of celebrity competitors on the show this coming fall. Having nailed many a stellar routines already, if Ohashi does compete, she’s sure to turn heads.
- Read more:
- How to raise an Olympian, according to the parents of gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin
- Simone Biles is dominating at the gymnastics world championships – despite having a kidney stone that sent her to the ER
- A college gymnast who broke both her legs during a floor routine is urging people to stop sharing videos of the injury
- A day behind the scenes of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ TV’s biggest celebrity dance competition
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