Gymnastics at the Olympic games have come a long way through the years. There has been a little leeway when it comes to injecting personal style, attitude, and a little bit of fun into the routines. The Fierce 5 really made some headway in that department.
But elite gymnastics is still incredibly proper, at least when you compare it to what you see on the collegiate level.
Earlier this month, Katelyn Ohashi of U.C.L.A. scored a perfect 10 on an incredibly unique and joy-inspiring routine.
Ohashi was on track to be an Olympic athlete not that long ago. In 2013, she won the American Cup and defeated Simone Biles. Yeah, the Simone Biles.
However, the world of Olympic gymnastics wasn’t her destiny.
After sustaining some injuries and struggling with criticism about her body, she decided to compete on the collegiate level.
At U.C.L.A., her coaches and her teammates let her express her individuality in every sense of the word. She’s allowed to embrace her strong, powerful body just as it is with no one breathing down her back and telling her that she doesn’t fit the mold of what a gymnast is supposed to be.
She no longer defines herself as a gymnast and a gymnast alone. She’s a vibrant young woman, a performer, an athlete, and yes, a gymnast as well!
She’s known for her routines full to the brim with personality. Last year, her Michael Jackson number caused quite a stir on social media.
This January 12, 2019, Ohashi did it again!
As she nails each move perfectly, with hardly a step on any landing, she radiates pure joy. She’s her truest self when she’s performing, and her happiness is contagious. She shamelessly whips her curls around and eggs the crowd on to clap along. Her facial expressions might be frowned upon at the Olympics, but here? You can see the judges, her teammates, and her coaches smiling right along with her!
She’s said that what you see when she is performing is exactly how she feels on the inside.
It’s so wonderful that she has found the perfect place to nourish her lovely personality in tandem with her undeniable talent. Seeing her teammates do the hand movements right along with her warms your heart.
No young woman should ever feel that her body isn’t “right.” Ohashi is powerful and graceful, and her body allows her to express herself with true honesty.
When the scoreboard comes up as a perfect 10, the smile on her face is like a ray of sunshine.
Almost all the YouTube comments reinforce how much joy she brings to everyone who watches her:
‘I watched this video 7 times in a row. I love seeing talent shine. Her teammates gave it that extra awesomeness mimicking her moves. It felt more like a dance completion. Wish gymnastic was like this all the time. Great job.”
Maybe someday the Olympics will embrace this kind of performance, and maybe folks will stop criticizing young women’s bodies, forcing them to conform to a standard that’s unrealistic and unhealthy for the majority of the population.
What do you think of this perfect routine? Would you like to see more gymnastic routines with huge personalities like this one? I think that would be a great thing for up-and-coming young female athletes to look up to and aspire to become one day.
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