‘I felt alone,’ says gymnast after her perfect 10 went viral | Daily News

‘I felt alone,’ says gymnast after her perfect 10 went viral

Ohashi competes in floor exercise during a meet at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.
Ohashi competes in floor exercise during a meet at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.

Earlier this year Katelyn Ohashi shot to fame when a video of her perfect 10 floor routine for UCLA gymnastics went viral, amassing over 118 million views online.

The Seattle native is regularly stopped in the street by people wanting pictures, but the "perfect 10 girl's" sudden fame has had it downsides.

While the positivity and energy that shone through in her performance as she danced to Beyoncé and Tina Turner resulted in glowing praise from all over the world, Ohashi was also subjected to a number of body shaming comments on social media.

"I feel like, a lot of times, I've felt alone when I was going through all this stuff," Ohashi told CNN Sport's Patrick Snell.

"Social media portrays one side of a person that they don't mind you seeing, but the other parts are hidden and not so openly talked about.

"And so being that person that welcomes every person that doesn't feel 'normal' -- or whatever that means right -- with open arms and make them feel like they're not the only people. Because, trust me, everyone's going through their own things."


She has a blog with a friend Maria Caire where the pair discuss "the body-image issues athletes endure'" and for Ohashi herself, living with a rare skin disease and ulcerative colitis.

She used her acceptance speech for her two ESPY's awards -- for "Best Play" and "Viral Sports Moment" -- to call out body shamers, catapulting her into the world's conscience

"I would definitely say I am aware, because I receive messages and it's so heartwarming to hear people reaching out -- like, 'I've been able to remove my bandages,' or 'I related so much to your blog post' and things like that," said Ohashi.

"Being able to help people is what I strive for.

They always say, 'those 15 minutes of fame,' right? I've managed to elongate my time from one gymnastics video, which is really amazing to see. "And continuing to spread this positive message to other people that might be struggling or need to hear exactly what I've been through."


Ohashi became involved with gymnastics as a three-year-old, and by the age of four, she was able to do a back handspring. But her journey to where she is now -- she scored six perfect 10s in the 2018/19 season -- has been anything but straightforward.

At the age of 15 and at the perceived peak of her powers, Ohashi was beating the likes of Simone Biles -- now the most decorated gymnast of all time -- on the way to winning the American Cup.

But due to the stress and amount of training she was putting herself through, Ohashi knew she was injured and the pain she was battling through limited any joy she got from winning. After undergoing scans, she discovered she had been competing with a fractured back and two torn shoulders and, going against the advice of the then-national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics, Larry Nassar, Ohashi had surgery on the injuries. Once a world-renowned sports physician treating America's foremost Olympic women gymnasts, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison last year after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.

After her surgery there was no guarantee Ohashi would be able to participate in gymnastics at all, let alone competitively. But after just a year out and acknowledging that her body could not handle elite gymnastics, she joined the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team and fell in love with the sport again. – CNN

Ohashi performs her 'perfect 10' routine for UCLA.

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