The world has discovered Katelyn Ohashi. Millions of views on YouTube take the floor exercise with which the American has broken the molds, a minute and a half in which she is seen dancing (really) and flying as always. A performance that has received on Twitter to the congratulations of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In the background it does not matter what 10.00 he achieved, because it's not something so rare in university gymnastics, what counts is the story he hides. Ohashi, who is 21 years old, could be everything, was lost to elite gymnastics due to injuries and a toxic environment, and reappears at last as the great athlete she always was. And, in addition, happy.
"There was a time when I was at the top. It was an Olympic hope. It was unbeatable. Until I stopped being it. " This is how the video that the platform published began Players Tribune in August. Six minutes of Ohashi in the first person.
That time was 2013, when being the best gymnast in the United States meant being the favorite to win the World Cup or the Olympic Games. Ohashi had everything. Incredibly complicated exercises, class and technique. Discipline and courage He trained at WOGA, the factory that the Soviet champion Liukin had built in Texas and from which Carly Patterson (champion in Athens 2004) left. Nastia Liukin (Beijing 2008). She was also an incredibly serious and focused gymnast.
Gymnastics was his world since he was three years old. That's why it was natural to change gym to improve, train endless hours and live by and for the sport. Ohashi, in addition, was successful. After a meteoric career as a junior, he made his debut in the 2013 American Cup together with Simone Biles… and won.
But that same year he chained two serious injuries. First one shoulder and then, the back. "I broke," he says in the video. Neither World nor Games. Two years it took him to recover and, when he did, he no longer knew what his world was. That world, in addition, was about to experience its greatest earthquake by the scandal of sexual abuse of the national team doctor Larry Nassar, whose victims number in the hundreds.
But there was the gymnastics for save to Ohashi. A sport with its own rules, which is pure spectacle and that moves thousands of spectators every weekend. That shakes the networks from time to time – remember Sophina DeJesus A couple of years ago? – and that has become a refuge for a good number of champions. Where women can look like it and have fun and keep competing.
Ohashi found her home at UCLA, in Los Angeles, in a team where Kyla Ross (team gold in London 2012) and Madison Kocian (team gold in Rio 2016 and silver in parallel) are also there. There is also Valerie Kondos Field, responsible for the program and a legend of the university sport. Three years later, Ohashi has become a totally different gymnast. Magnetic With the smile always ready. She is no longer a girl and her jumps are not so complicated – here they are not necessary – but her gymnastics is hypnotic, passionate and spectacular. Ohashi himself said it in his networks when Nassar was sentenced: "University gymnastics is the reward we received after years of abuse. It's time to discover, heal, learn, grow and enjoy the best moment of our lives. " It is also a magnificent speaker for a sport eager for good news.