ESPN’s The Body Issue: Uncovering the Real Katelyn Ohashi

Katelyn Oshashi is a 22-year-old former gymnast. Recently modelled for ESPN’s Body Issue; the elite gymnast opened up about her time being in the sport. As Katelyn began to speak up about her experience she releases to ESPN that the sport of gymnastics became less about her and more for the people around her. More specifically, the pressure of going to the Olympics was pushed upon her because of her high talent and from coaches, not by her own intrinsic motivation. The act of winning became something she didn’t desire as much and the joy she used to feel went away. Unable to speak up and express her feelings, she felt pressured to stay and continue. Having family members put so much into this sport for her, she believed she needed to do this for them.

Continuing the sport was not as easy as it may have seemed over social media for Katelyn Oshashi. What came from all those wins and medals was mental and physical pain. Constant negative comments on her weight from people she looked up to formed a terrible relationship with herself and food, leading to eating disorders. Being told everyday what to eat and what not to eat and how she looked became normal to her and all her friends within the sport. She grew to hate how she looked and became unhappy with her body so much so that she needed to do things to it to try and change it. When the activity that one used to desire so much, eventually takes over your life negatively, one may not even realize the effects and many are left without the help they need. This was a huge struggle in her life.

All-around gymnastics champion at the 2013 American Cup before becoming a Bruin. Fighting through two iron shoulders and a fractured back while competing. (Source: Niveda Tennety, Daily Bruin)

To Katelyn, gymnastics defined who she was. However, she felt mentally, physically, and emotionally broken from it. From not only the eating disorders and constant pressure to look a certain way she also received various injuries that tore her further away from the love she had from the sport.

Her most recent injuring, a torn shoulder, lead to her having to take 2 years off for recovery. This time off didn’t just heal her physically, but also mentally. She realized why she began the sport in the first place and decided to give it another chance, but through a different route. She now competes in college gymnastics at UCLA. The joy that had been lost for so long finally returned. A love for her skin and eating also appeared after proper education on nutrition was given from personal trainers and nutritionists.

Competing for UCLA against the University of Washington, Katelyn receives a solid 10. (Source: Ken Lambert, Seattle Times Staff Reporter)

Modelling for the Body Issue allowed Katelyn to uncover her body and also let people know it was not always easy for her. She has gone through a lot and has finally found a place where she is content and can appreciate the things around her.


Featured Image: Katelyn Ohashi photo shoot for ESPN (Source: ESPN The Magazine)

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