Katelyn Ohashi is the former UCLA gymnast we grew to love for her viral floor routines and vibrant personality. If you're familiar with her story, you know that her gymnastics career wasn't always one of love and positivity. For a long time, Ohashi wasn't happy. She was subjected to body shaming while on the elite track, starting at age 13, when she weighed just 70 pounds. She was told, for instance, that she looked like she'd "swallowed an elephant" and was compared to a bird that couldn't fly, which negatively affected her both mentally and physically. Fast forward to 2021, and a new video for media company Togethxr, founded by athletes Chloe Kim, Alex Morgan, Sue Bird, and Simone Manuel, delves into Ohashi's mental health journey.
Ohashi went from broken to bold, and though it wasn't easy, she found joy in the sport again thanks to the collegiate program at UCLA. She also learned to embrace other activities outside of the gym, finally realizing that she's more than an athlete: she's a poet, a photographer, a creative, and a human being. She's also found her voice. Poetry, she said in the video, "kind of saved my life in ways."
"There are so many different ways to love yourself."
Ohashi healed her relationship with gymnastics and learned how to accept her body, including her skin condition, granuloma annulare. "I've just really worked a lot on taking confidence into your own hands because it's really all up to you and what you do with how you feel about yourself and trying to get better every single day and feel more comfortable in your skin," she said, "because we're stuck in it forever."
The 24-year-old continued, "Self-love is like a journey that's never-ending, but I think it makes it so special because there are so many different ways to love yourself." She added, "I can be free to be who I am, what my body wants to gravitate towards, letting my body turn into whatever it wants to be." Watch the empowering video in full, above.