In a dazzling display of joyful athleticism that earned her a perfect 10 from the judges, UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi turned in a show-stopping floor routine set to music by all-women artists during a championship on Saturday.
Ohashi, the reigning national champion in floor exercise, became an instant sensation in January after a video of her perfect 10 performance at the Collegiate Challenge in Anaheim, California, went viral. Speaking to espnW, Ohashio said she opted to switch up her routine and music after deciding that she could no longer feature songs from Michael Jackson in her dancing. Allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Jackson molested them when they were children, she noted, were on everybody’s mind following the release of new documentary Leaving Neverland.
“The goal of my routine is pure joy, and after the documentary, not everyone was feeling that way, and you can never discredit someone’s feelings,” Ohashi explained.
On Saturday, at the PAC-12 women’s gymnastic championship in West Valley City, Utah, Ohashi debuted her fresh new routine set to music by Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, and Beyonce. The jaw-dropping performance won her a standing ovation from the crowd, a perfect score from the judges, and capped off a team win for UCLA.
Ohashi, who has previously spoken about past struggles with self image and body shaming, says she wants to use her fame as a top gymnast to help raise awareness about the importance of empowering women.
“I have a passionate heart about women’s empowerment, and I am very compassionate towards people who have spoken out,” Ohashi told espnW. “And I hope that by changing my routine, I can be remembered for being more than a gymnast. It’s about understanding issues and having a bigger platform than just the sport.”
Watch Ohashi’s perfect 10 performance below.