Stepping Back to Move Forward


UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi’s electric floor routine has taken the internet by storm. Her performance featured an incredible combination of moves set to a mashup of classic hits and was underscored by the ear to ear grin telegraphing the LOVE for what she's doing.

Enjoying the sport hasn't always been the norm for Ohashi. While she seemed destined for the Olympics and routinely won medals at elite gymnastics competitions early in her career, she was struggling under the constant pressure to maintain a petite figure or risk losing her place on the team. In a video for The Players' Tribune, she explains how the body shaming from coaches and fans broke her spirit before the sport eventually broke her body.

In 2015, she decided to take a new road and left her Olympic dreams behind her in search of a more fulfilling life competing at a lower level at UCLA. Under the guidance of coach Valorie Kondos Field, she has found an environment that supports her and helps her grow while allowing her to rekindle her passion for the sport once again. Ohashi says, “It’s not the outcome. It’s not me standing on the podium with medals. It’s me being able to walk out with a smile on my face and truly being happy with myself.” She certainly has a lot to be proud of these days. Since joining UCLA, she has scored SIX "perfect 10s" and lead the team to back to back national championships with her playful but complex routines.

As Katelyn Ohashi has learned, we all need to decide for ourselves what defines success. Even if you’re doing something you love, if the environment you’re in makes you miserable it’s nearly impossible to reach your full potential. There’s no shame in taking a step back to reassess and adjust your course, and it helps to have a great advisor to help guide you as you grow.