Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi was once body shamed by fans
Katelyn Ohashi went viral for her crotch-crushing, perfect 10 routine, but the attention she’s received hasn’t always been so positive.
You may recognise Katelyn Ohashi from earlier this week when her perfect-10 routine went viral around the world.
The artistic gymnast had everyone in shock as she flew from one side of the mat to another with a Michael Jackson-inspired routine.
As The Way You Make Me Feel played, Ohashi delivered three tumbles, into a split landing before standing to the raucous applause of the crowd and fellow competitors.
Sports Illustrated described the routine as “perfection”, HuffPost said it was “flawless” and UCLA tweeted that a “10 isn’t enough”.
Back in 2018 she captivated the crowds at the Pac-12 with another King of Pop inspired performance attaining gymnastic perfection to a funky musical medley.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
The 21-year-old, who was a four-time member of USA Gymnastics’ Junior National Team recently revealed she suffered from a long-term battle with body image in part because of hateful comments she would get from fans.
“There was a time when I was on top of the world, an Olympic hopeful,” Ohashi said in a video for The Players’ Tribune. “I was unbeatable. Until I wasn’t.”
Being a gymnast is all she has ever known and all she ever wanted to be — until she started getting attacked for the way she looked.
“That girl you think who had it all; all the medals in her room, the podiums she would stand on … fans would tell her she’s not good enough, she didn’t look a certain way,” Ohashi said speaking about herself in third person.
“She would want to eat junk food and feel okay the next day and not have to worry about getting kicked out because she couldn’t get a skill.”
Life only got harder for the Ohashi when she injured her back and shoulder before joining the University of California (UCLA).
“I was broken,” Ohashi said in the video reflecting on her gymnastics career.
Regardless, the determined gymnast competed on a fractured back and two torn shoulders.
According to The Players’ Tribune, due to persistent injuries she decided to drop down from the elite level in the hope of competing in college.
“No one ever fully knew what I was going through and I could never really say or publicise what was wrong with me,” she said.
“I was told that it was embarrassing how big I’d become.
“I was compared to a bird that couldn’t fly. These are all things I heard before I even got injured, things that when I was skinny I was told, so what would they think of me when I would become big,” she asked.
”I hated myself. It took me finding UCLA and finding a different goal and path to follow to finally find joy and love within the sport again.”
Ohashi said that gymnastics can be a very brutal sport.
“But I don’t think it’s supposed to be … I hope in 10 years or 20 years time there will be people leaving the sport feeling untouched by it.”
She joined the UCLA gymnastics team in 2015 after being a four-time member of USA Gymnastics’ Junior National Team.
“I haven’t been able to feel this kind of happiness in a long time,” she explained.
“I have found my joy, my voice, myself and my love for the sport.
“The outcome is not me standing on a podium with medals — it’s me being able to walk out with a smile on my face and truly, being happy with myself and that comes first.