Katelyn Ohashi is the famous UCLA gymnast who gained fame when her astounding, perfect-score floor routine in a January competition went viral. Her recent perfect-10 floor routine has pulled in a whopping 24 million views and counting. Her radiant smile coupled with her statement to young girls about body positivity puts her in a place where she is changing the sport of gymnastics, as we know it. There are many facets to this internet sensation and if you want to be more smitten with her, check out these 10 cool facts about Washingtons very own Katelyn Ohashi:
Katelyn Ohashi: 10 Totally True Facts
1. She was born in Seattle, Washington:
She was born in Newcastle, Washington to parents Richard and Diana. She joined the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team for the 2015-2016 season; she earned two perfect 10s competing on the balance beam in 2017.
2. She attended UCLA on a full gymnastics scholarship:
Having taken some time to reassess what gymnastics meant to her (and deciding to forgo the elite, Olympic-level route), Ohashi applied to UCLA, which is ranked No. 2 in the country for its women’s gymnastics program by the College Gymnastics Association. She’d continue her career twisting and gracefully landing but on a college level and only for those four remaining years.
The knowledge that her career time in the sport would soon come to an end “allowed me to pour my heart and soul into it,” she said. Her advice to anyone doing gymnastics? “Make sure you do it for you.”
Ohashi graduated from UCLA in 2019 and planned to work at a gymnastics camp and do speaking engagements in the coming months. Long-term, she spoke about being passionate about working with survivors of domestic abuse, and hopes to work toward changing the laws around abuse.
3. She started gymnastics classes when she was a toddler (three years old, in fact) at Gymnastics East in Bellevue:
At the age of three years old, Ohashi stepped into the sport she’d ultimately become famous for as a prodigy. Those around her quickly recognized her athletic prowess, natural abilities, and star potential.
4. KO left the Pacific Northwest at the tender age of nine to train:
Katelyn Ohashi went to train at the elite (and now controversial) Great American Gymnastics Experience gym in Missouri—and then came back at 14 to compete in the Pacific Rim Championships in Everett, Washington where her balance beam routine brought her to the headlines as a routine that was “harder than any other being performed in the world.”
5. She missed the age cutoff for the 2012 Olympics by mere months:
Now she competes for the UCLA Bruins alongside Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross. Although Ohashi didn’t get to compete at the 2012 Olympics, she defeated Ross the year before at the 2011 U.S. Nationals.
6. In 2013 and at 16 years old, Ohashi won the American Cup, an elite international gymnastics competition and shocked people beating the future Olympian Simone Biles:
The American Cup is an all-around competition (as opposed to one focused on a specific event). “She is,” commented one of the announcers during her 2013 beam routine, “world class.”
7. KO known for high scores, but in 2016 she fell off a beam while competing:
To be fair, it was only because its end fell off—and attempting the most difficult dismount in the sport across the country.
After sustaining back and shoulder injuries and conferring with multiple doctors, Ohashi was told she might never do gymnastics again. Though the sport had been her life for so many years, getting the news and being forced to step away were ultimately a gift.
“I just remember being so unhappy and in so much pain,” she told INSIDER about the year she won the American Cup, filled with the strain of constantly pushing herself to excel. “Hearing that was probably a relief — like pressure was lifted off my shoulders.”
8. Muhammad Ali is the athlete she most admires but her music routines are more admiring:
Katelyn Ohashi has killer taste in music: Her floor routines have been set to Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, and Earth, Wind & Fire. But did you know that it took six people to build her viral floor routine? The 6 member team included another famous UCLA gymnastics coach Miss Val, several of Ohashi’s teammates, Katelyn Ohashi herself, and an alum.
Her other fans include Janet Jackson, Senator Kamala Harris, and Busy Philipps.
Both Jackson and Senator Harris tweeted their excitement for and about Ohashi, and the latter was invited to make an appearance on Philipps’ (now-cancelled) late-night talk show “Busy Tonight.”
9. Her dream is to be on “Dancing with the Stars”:
Nothing’s been announced just yet,the gymnast has her eye on Dancing with the Stars. Having nailed many stellar routines already, if Ohashi does compete, she’s sure to turn heads.
She’s just 4 feet 10 inches tall, but her personality can fill a whole stadium.