9 things you didn't know about star UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi

Tim Nwachukwu/GettyKatelyn Ohashi of the UCLA gymnastics team.

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

Young Katelyn OhashiCourtesy of Katelyn OhashiYoung Katelyn Ohashi.

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.”

Ohashi KatelynDon Liebig/UCLA PhotographyOhashi says competing is now one of her favourite parts of doing gymnastics.

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.


Read more:
UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi stunned judges and broke the internet with a flawless, Jackson 5-inspired floor routine that earned a perfect 10

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

Both Jackson and Senator Harris tweeted their excitement for and about Ohashi, and the latter was invited to make an appearance on Philipps’ (now-cancelled) late-night talk show “Busy Tonight.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KuaTooJx6Y

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.

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