Katelyn Ohashi podcast

030: Katelyn Ohashi on finding joy in gymnastics

The second part of the special podcast episode focuses on UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, who captivated the world with her viral floor routine. In this installment, Katelyn discusses the highs and lows of her gymnastic journey, her relationship with Coach Miss Val Kondos-Field, and her efforts to use her newfound platform for advocacy on important social issues.

Early in the conversation, Katelyn reflects on the routine that made her an internet sensation. She credits the power of team spirit and the importance of laser focus in the execution of the routine. The global attention has given her a platform, which she’s keen to use not just for her athletic career but also to raise awareness on critical issues.

Katelyn holds Miss Val in high regard, describing how the coach’s positive influence helped her navigate an otherwise toxic culture in gymnastics. When she first reached out to Miss Val at the age of 16, Katelyn was in a fragile state, subjected to an abusive culture and grappling with personal assault. She shares that her injuries were more a result of mental burnout than physical, underlining the destructive nature of the prevailing culture in the sport.

In contrast, she defends gymnastics itself, attributing the issues in the sport to people who have been allowed to dictate a harmful culture. Katelyn praises UCLA’s role in fostering a healthier environment and credits gymnastics for shaping her into the person she is today.

The podcast also delves into Katelyn’s online platforms where she writes articles, blogs, and poems. These pieces often touch on deeply personal issues such as body image, mental health, and sexual abuse. She hopes that her writing can be a source of empowerment for others, helping them find their voices and feel less alone. This creative outlet became particularly important to her after an injury sidelined her for two years.

Katelyn offers advice for those going through difficult times, emphasizing the significance of having a supportive inner circle. She believes that your environment can profoundly impact your mental and emotional well-being.

When asked about the future, Katelyn remains focused on positive outcomes. She discusses her injuries, her relationship with the sport, and her intention to leave gymnastics in a better state than she found it. While she doesn’t reveal specific plans, it’s clear that Katelyn Ohashi, at just 21, has the world at her feet and a vision to use her platform for meaningful change.

Show Notes

3:01 – We start the conversation by talking gym practice and a visit from a special guest.

4:55 – Steve and Katelyn discuss how the routine went viral and how this has allowed her a platform to push on with her career after sport.

6:09 – We delve further into the routine, some of the incredible components within it, the importance of her team and the execution with laser focus.

12:36 – Katelyn believes Miss Val Kondos-Field will forever leave her legacy at UCLA and in her life.

15:35 – Katelyn was broken when she first called Miss Val at 16 years old. She goes on to share her experiences of abusive culture, assault and how this stunted her growth.

17:50 – Katelyn’s injuries were not a result of physical burnout but of mental burnout.

19:15 – Katelyn offers her thoughts on where she believes the negative culture in gymnastics has come from and how UCLA is leading the way in shifting culture.

21:00 – Gymnastics is not a bad sport, it’s the people that were allowed to dictate that are. Katelyn underlines the importance of gymnastics in shaping who she has become.

22:00 – Steve and Katelyn chat about Katelyn’s platforms online. In particular the articles, blogs and poems Katelyn has written around body image, body shaming, illness, mental health and sexual abuse.

26:45 – Katelyn hopes her creative writing empowers others in finding their voice and not feeling alone.

27:22 – Katelyn moved to UCLA in 2015 and started writing a lot when her injury kept her out of the sport for 2 years in 2016.

32:45 – Katelyn offers her advice to others going through troubling times.

34:00 – Steve and Katelyn talk about the importance of an inner circle of people as a support mechanism.

37:20 – Steve and Katelyn discuss how her viral routine was put together, the execution and the inspiration behind it.

44:50 – Katelyn talks about her injuries, the Olympic pathway, the positive relationship she has with the sport and the importance of leaving gymnastics in a good place.

46:55 – What is next for Katelyn Ohashi, the girl with the world at her feet?

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