FCIAC

Viral Video Inspires Area Gymnasts

I got off to a bad start with gymnastics. I was a pretty good athlete growing up but the elements of gymnastics were beyond a challenge for me. I had difficulty executing a forward roll.

That caused a problem in junior high school, when a strict physical education teacher graded me solely on my performance and not on effort, giving me a C. There are few things more embarrassing to a young teen than getting anything less than an A in gym.

That aside, like everyone else — it has now been viewed over 25 million times — I was captivated by the floor routine that earned UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi a perfect 10. Has the joy of competition ever been better captured than during Ohashi’s exquisite two minutes?

Start with the athletic ability on display, add the choice of music and the reaction of the crowd and you had the perfect confluence to get the sport back in the national spotlight, this time for positive reasons.

There is a backstory to how Ohashi, due to injuries and burnout, retired from the sport, which she discussed in this video for The Players’ Tribune.

I reached out to some top FCIAC gymnasts to get their takes on the Ohashi routine and what it meant to them. Here is what those who responded had to say.

Emory Ciocci, Stamford

Over the past couple of weeks a viral video has been shared of a UCLA gymnast who scored a perfect 10 on the floor. While watching this routine I was very excited to see that gymnasts are moving away from the typical perfect, elegant, straight-legged and pointed-toe dance in the floor exercise. Gymnastics is a very highly judged sport and every movement is deliberated and given a score.

This being said, gymnasts have always seemed to play it safe and never truly express themselves in their floor routines. Therefore, it was very inspiring to see the UCLA gymnasts infuse other forms of dance into their routines and truly express themselves. As for Katelyn’s tumbling…it speaks for itself.  

Kate Ginsburg, Wilton

Katelyn Ohashi’s floor routine is hands-down amazing and has given gymnastics as a sport a lot of recognition. A floor routine is supposed to show personality and I know I love to try to have fun with it.

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She is a role model to every gymnast and helps bring light to the fact that gymnastics is a hard sport that people have to devote a lot of time and effort to. Although she makes it look easy, she is doing extremely challenging skills while still having a smile on her face. She shows that a gymnast not only needs athletic ability, but they need to be able to perform and somehow try to make everything look effortless.

Gymnastics never gets the amount of credit it deserves for being such a difficult sport and gymnasts everywhere are thankful for the fact that she could show people everywhere how talented one has to be to get that perfect 10.

Jessica Olin, Wilton

It was almost impossible not to smile while watching Katelyn Ohashi’s floor routine. She makes each move look effortless, and with a routine including a skill that is not even in the rule book, it is beyond impressive.

The viral video has brought a great deal of positive attention to gymnastics at a time when it is greatly needed. It is hard to believe that Ohashi considered giving up gymnastics numerous times throughout her life. Now, with a shifted mindset, she has found a new love for the sport that shines through in every move.

While each routine is individual, going in knowing that you are competing for a team changes everything. The excitement that comes with seeing a score that will then count toward the team score is amazing. Ohashi’s performance reminds me how much I love gymnastics. Floor is my favorite event also, and nothing can beat that feeling of walking out on the floor, knowing how much fun I am about to have. 

Merritt Stevenson, Trumbull

I think this routine has made people appreciate gymnastics more. A lot of my friends usually tease me about how gymnastics isn’t a sport and this routine has definitely proved them wrong. Some of them have even come up to me to say “floor actually does require some physical ability.”

I’m glad people can finally understand what I’m putting three hours towards every day and I definitely think people will start taking gymnastics seriously now. Katelyn’s routine is inspiring to gymnasts and non-gymnasts and I hope to see more routines like hers in the future.