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Katelyn Ohashi: ‘How I Entertain Is My Gratitude For Everyone’
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UCLA senior Katelyn Ohashi has become a pop-culture phenomenon thanks to her joyous floor exercise routine that has has earned 117 million views and counting, but she intends to use her recent multimedia platform to better not only herself but the world.

Through her appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and elsewhere, Ohashi has been open and vocal on the self-doubt and even self-hatred she suffered and has gradually overcome. She continues to reconcile her troubled past as she poises herself for altruistic ventures beyond the gym.

Since Ohashi’s 10.0-scoring routine at a January 12 meet went viral, it has become the most-watched sports video on social media so far this year. Janet Jackson, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jesse Jackson and Troy Aikman are among the celebrities who have shared it.

Featured on the IG cover three times during her elite career, Ohashi finished first all-around at the 2011 U.S. junior championships, the ’12 Pacific Rim junior championships and the ’13 American Cup. She began competing for UCLA in the 2015-16 season. As a junior she shared the ’18 NCAA floor exercise title with another Michael Jackson-themed routine that went viral and enjoyed 90 million views.

IG spoke with Ohashi at Pauley Pavilion following her latest 10.0-scoring floor routine against Utah State University on March 16, her final home meet for UCLA.

IG: Was there a moment at which you finally accepted your past and yourself, and all the things that had been confusing and tormenting you?

KO: It’s been a really long process over the past four years, and I would say I started accepting it a lot in my sophomore year more so. Over last summer I had this crazy experience spiritually, and learning to forgive, move on and heal. All of it came together and I would say that was kind of the moment when I realized I was compartmentalizing a lot and there was still stuff I needed to deal with, and so a lot of it happened then.

IG: How are you coping with not only all the media attention you’ve been getting, but knowing you are contributing to bigger crowds at home and away meets? That is a lot of pressure.

KO: I don’t see it as pressure. Miss Val (UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field) says we have to be grateful for all the people that are here, and really thanking all of them. How I entertain is my gratitude for everyone, and I go with the same every single time, which is to have as much fun as possible.

Read the complete interview in the 2019 May issue of International Gymnast.

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