Katelyn Ohashi wrote a poem called Fame that ends "The fate of not all will be the same, set your own goals and make your own fame."
As the 22-year-old UCLA student prepares to compete for the last time in the NCAA championships, she has fulfilled her own words with a trio of viral routines that have given her an audience outside the world of gymnastics and a platform. Talk about empowerment issues. The meeting begins Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ohashi ranks first nationally in floor exercises after posting a perfect 10.0 in six games. She is the fourth gymnast in the history of the NCAA to have a national qualification score of 10.0 in any event.
For all the attention that Ohashi receives in the exercise on the floor, he also ranks second in the national level in the balance beam and leads a Bruins squad that is the defending national champion and has only lost one match this season.
"I think I've finally taken ownership of myself and myself as a gymnast," Ohashi said. "It just reminds you that time is everything. I would not have been ready for all this last year. I think this was my last year and it has prepared me for many of the things I want to do in my future. I've always wanted to have a platform like this. So I think it's really amazing. "
She is using that platform to try to spread a message of empowerment for women and support survivors of abuse. It is the theme of his new routine, a reworking of which earned him a perfect 10.0 in five of the 10 encounters and obtained more than 117 million visits on social networks, which led to appearances on national morning shows and was acclaimed by musicians, actors, athletes and politicians
The routine opens with music by Tina Turner, retains a section by Janet Jackson and presents Beyoncé music and dance moves. The first included a mix of songs that also included Earth Wind & Fire, Jackson 5, and Michael Jackson's music and dance moves.
"Is that why we decided, you know, to go through all the music and who runs the world?" Girls, like, duh, I do not think so, "she said." I feel it's important to have that message on a platform because I'm in a Team with survivors and my floor coach is also a survivor. "
The floor coach, Jordyn Wieber, was one of five athletes in the 2012 team who stated that they were abused by Larry Nassar, a former US Gymnastics doctor who is in prison for sexually assaulted patients.
Ohashi always planned to have two different routines this season. She introduced the new one in the Pac-12 championships. He scored 10.0 at the Pac-12 meeting and followed with 9.95 at the NCAA regional meeting.
The change also coincided with the release of the documentary Leaving Neverland about Michael Jackson. Ohashi said that eliminating Michael Jackson's dance moves and music was a conscious decision because "it's about joy and if it makes a person feel uncomfortable, that has never been my goal."
Wieber said it was not about whether they wanted to support Jackson's music or not, but rather about respecting all the survivors.
"Katelyn has built this platform for her where she reaches so many people, not only in the world of gymnastics, but throughout the world. I'm really excited that she has decided to do that, "said Wieber.
The music for the new routine was selected by Ohashi, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field, Wieber and former UCLA gymnast Ariana Berlin. Berlin spliced everything together. It also presents a greater degree of difficulty with additional turns in the turning passes and a more intricate choreography, which Ohashi offers with an energetic enthusiasm and enthusiasm that attracts roars and shouts of appreciation from the audience.
Kondos Field and Wieber felt the pressure coming into this season to see if Ohashi could live up to 2018, when she became the NCAA floor champion with a routine that had more than 90m of visits. UCLA has had many floor routines that go viral, but last year it was the first time a junior did it.
"We've never had to overcome it, so I knew it had to be more exciting and joyful," said Kondos Field. "All the music that we were finding and that she brought me was good music. It was artistic. It was really great music, but it was not cheerful at a higher level than it was last year. "
Kondos Field, who is retiring at the end of the season, said that all of this year's experience has made Ohashi a better person, student and teammate.
"This is a dream come true for a coach to see a mature student-athlete through celebrity," he said. "She has been inundated with requests from the media and having to keep up with the school and having to be a great team player and not be late for workouts, and she has maneuvered everything as well as a professional" .
However, it was not a dream start.
Before Ohashi came to UCLA in the fall of 2015, he competed for four years at the elite level and won overall competition at the Copa América in 2013. But that was his last major achievement on the elite stage as back injuries and shoulder. derailed his Olympic hopes.
Despite the physical injuries, Ohashi was mentally in worse shape due to pressures from the competition and the coaches. Kondos Field and Ohashi went out to lunch regularly in their first year. The discussions were not about routines, but about college life.
Kondos Field also challenged her to use all the time she spent on her phone in a more productive way, like listening to the TED talks.
"That's literally when the bud of a flower started to bloom, and his mind started to open up to things," the trainer said.
Ohashi has spoken openly about issues that matter to him. She has used her poetry to shed light on how to deal with fame, body image and bullying. His love for writing came from years of being in elite gymnastics, where the only way to express his thoughts was to write in magazines.
He recently discussed the problems of embarrassing the body in a blog that started with a friend called "Behind the Madness."
Ohashi will be mounting the momentum of his notoriety for a while. He will graduate in June with a degree in gender studies. Her immediate postgraduate plans include an internship in "The Players & Tribune" and working with women affected by domestic violence.
Ohashi and Kondos Field have received many requests for their time, but have postponed them until after the season so they do not interfere with their amateur status.
"In what other moment of life are you going to have 20 girls behind you in everything you do? But if we had another year, would we take it? Most likely not, "said Ohashi." I think we've both given everything to the sport and made the most of what we have. It's really great that we can go out together. "