Katelyn Ohashi, 21, is a two-time All-American gymnast who currently competes for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She was born in Seattle, Washington, to parents Richard and Diana Ohashi and she has three older brothers, Ryan, Kyle, and Kalen.
This past weekend, Ohashi completed a floor routine that floored just about everyone — including the judges — at the Collegiate Challenge.
About a decade ago, Ohashi made her debut at the 2009 Junior Olympic National Championships. She’s had some ups and downs throughout her career but she’s been at the top of her game for the past several months. In her spare time, Ohashi enjoys “writing, poetry, photography, shopping, working with homeless shelters, and going to the beach,” according to her bio on the UCLA Bruin’s website.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Her Floor Routine Is Extremely Challenging — But She Earned a Perfect Score
On Sunday, January 13, Ohashi competed at the Collegiate Challenge, where the UCLA Bruins earned first place. Ohashi made gymnastics look easy from her effortless summersaults to her most gentle landings.
“Her whole floor routine is ridiculously hard. Every single thing about it including the backward split that she does after her leap pass — it’s insane,” UCLA Coach Valorie Kondos Field told UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin.
The difficulty level of her floor exercise was one thing and her personality was another. Ohashi exuded happiness and the huge smile on her face only helped her capture the attention — and the hearts — of her audience. Her personality and attitude were applauded by dozens of social media users who simply couldn’t get enough of the routine — one that earned Ohashi a perfect score.
“A 10 isn’t enough for this floor routine by @katelyn_ohashi,” the UCLA Gymnastics official Twitter account tweeted following Ohashi’s floor exercise.
2. Her Michael Jackson-themed Floor Routine Went Viral Last Year
Ohashi isn’t a stranger to viral routines. Last year, she completed an incredible floor exercise that took the internet by storm. Ohashi scored a 9.950 at the PAC-12 Championships.
The YouTube video of the performance has been viewed more than 4 million times.
Ohashi has had six perfect-10 performances throughout her career. In 2017, she earned two perfect scores for balance beam. Last year, she earned three perfect scores for her floor exercise. This year, she’s already off to a great start, earning her first perfect 10 this past weekend.
3. She Was Once an Olympic Hopeful But the Pressure Coupled With a few Serious Injuries Sidelined Her
Ohashi once competed at an elite level and was an Olympic hopeful. In 2013, however, a shoulder injury sidelined her after she won the 2013 American Cup. Later that same year, she fractured her back and needed surgery. These injuries kept her away from the sport until 2015.
In a Players’ Tribune video titled “I Was Broken,” she opened up about the pressures of being at the top of her game.
“There was a time where I was on top of the world, an Olympic hopeful. I was unbeatable until I wasn’t,” Ohashi said. “It took me finding Ms. Val [Kondos Field] and UCLA and having a different goal and path to follow, to finally find joy and love within the sport again. I haven’t been able to feel this type of happiness in a long time,” she added.
Ohashi went on to say that taking the pressure off really transformed her into the gymnast she is today.
“It’s not the outcome. It’s not me standing on the podium with medals. It’s me being able to walk out with a smile on my face and truly being happy with myself,” she explained.
4. She Has Spoken out About Positive Body Image & Has Her Own Blog
Ohashi has her own blog called “Behind the Madness.” The musings are inspiring and positive overall and are combined with some of Ohashi’s own photography work.
She took to social media last week and shared a post about body image. She posted two pictures of women with different body types wearing bikinis and added a powerful caption to the post.
“Standing bravely and powerfully in front of a camera in only their bra and underwear; only few will admire the message behind this photo. women showing skin, unfortunately, leaves them vulnerable to judgment and objectification, even from themselves. today they will only be admired for their courage, strength, uniqueness and incredible beauty. today showing skin equals power and strength, fighting back against beauty standards… because today WE SHATTERED THEM,” Ohashi captioned the photo.
A few days later, Ohashi followed up with another post.
“A majority of us know what it’s like to look in the mirror and not feel like we’re enough. to not like the image we see staring back. to now have constant access to people on social media to compare ourselves to and always feel like we’ve fallen short somewhere. I created these series of photos to empower those to stop. We are enough! We are beautiful and don’t need comments or a MIRROR to validate that! So we literally shattered them and your beauty standards,” she captioned the photo.
5. She Is a Gender Studies Major & Has More Than 230K Instagram Followers
Ohashi is dedicated to her education and is a Gender Studies major at UCLA.
“Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the complex interaction of gender with other identity markers such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, and religion,” reads a message from UCLA’s Gender Studies chair.
Outside of school, Ohashi has gained quite a following on Instagram; her account has amassed more than 230,000 followers. Ohashi often shares photos from various photoshoots and apparent modeling gigs.
Additionally, Ohashi shares inspirational posts and photos stemming from her aforementioned blog. She also shares photos and videos of her gymnastics endeavors.