Katelyn Ohashi: My 'crazy' week as the 'perfect 10' gymnast" width="976" height="549">
Katelyn Ohashi performed her "perfect 10" routine at a college gymnastics competition.
Katelyn Ohashi is used to performing under pressure. But she admits that the level of attention she has received in the past week has felt "really different". The 21-year-old gymnast took the internet by storm after a video of her "perfect 10" floor routine went viral. The clip of Katelyn perfectly executing seemingly gravity-defying flips and sassy dance moves has been viewed more than 60 million times, and made headlines around the world. But what is it like to be at the centre of this whirlwind
She hopes to still be able to "fly under the radar" sometimes, and jokes she "feels horrible for actual famous people. This is their actual lives!"
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A ? isn't enough for this floor routine by @katelyn_ohashi. ?— UCLA Gymnastics (@uclagymnastics) January 13, 2019
End of Twitter post by @uclagymnastics
When asked who she was most excited about having seen her performance, Katelyn immediately says: "Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec!" Her choice of Jean-Ralphio, a character played by actor Ben Schwartz in hit TV show Parks and Recreation, hints at one part of her personality. Many online have called her "full of joy", having an "infectious passion" and "so fun". Katelyn is keenly aware that it is these traits, along with her undeniable technical ability, that makes her performance so compelling. "My coach Ms Val always reminds me that when people watch me they need to have fun. "That's why I've been really touched by people saying things like 'this is the sort of positivity we need right now'. It's a nice change."
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While Katelyn is enjoying the huge amount of attention she has received, she isn't oblivious to the potential pitfalls. "I know it's important to stay humble," she says "I don't want to lose myself in this. I know that it can all be gone tomorrow."Katelyn is all too aware of the fragility of the success enjoyed by athletes.When she was younger she was hotly tipped as an Olympic hopeful, a contemporary of Simone Biles, and a rising star in the world of elite gymnastics. However, her rise was cut short after a series of injuries, surgery and the pressure "to look a certain way".
Katelyn Ohashi performing in 2018
In 2015, the then 18-year-old decided to step away from elite gymnastics and compete for the University of California, Los Angeles where she is pursuing a gender studies degree."I am in an amazing place and the moment - I have really grown into myself at college and I have an amazing support system around me."It is this new-found personal confidence that Katelyn credits with helping her cope with her recent global fame. "I think I am in the best place personally to deal with all this attention at the moment."Growing up I was often put under a lot of pressure - being an athlete - I've been dealing with pressure for a long time."But I have realised how many people I now have around to support me now."Katelyn says that she hopes to use her new-found online fame to raise awareness of some of the issues close to her heart. She is keen to promote body confidence and the need for young people to embrace who they are. And her advice for young people watching her success? "Be yourself. It's really important not to try and be someone else."
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