Before Katelyn Ohashi took the internet by storm, she earned one of her biggest wins over Simone Biles in 2013
The UCLA senior made waves on Saturday when she earned a perfect 10 during a performance at the 2019 Under Armour Collegiate Challenge, which bumped the Bruins’ total score to 197.700 and secured their victory.
Viral video of Ohashi’s flawless performance quickly made her a social media darling following the event, but the 21-year-old has put on specular routines for most of her life — especially during her showing at the 2013 AT&T American Cup in Worcester, Massachusetts.
In her international debut as a senior, a then 15-year-old Ohashi won the all-around title at the competition with a score of 59.199, which included impressive showings on the floor, vault and uneven bars.
But, according to USA Gymnastics, it was Ohashi’s routine on the balance beam — which featured a flip flop, flip flop, layout full twist and double pike dismount — that earned her a 15.333, her highest score that day.
“It feels so great to be out here – it’s a great way to start my senior career,” Ohashi said after the competition, according to USA Gymnastics. “I want to keep upgrading my routines and focus on cleaning them up and being consistent.”
And Ohashi had no easy competition on her way to first place.
Coming in second behind Ohashi was her teammate and then an upcoming-and-coming gymnastic star, Biles, who earned the highest score of the day in the vault and the uneven bars, scoring a 15.733 and 14.800 in her senior international debut.
But when Biles, who was 15 at the time, fell on the balance beam during a complex routine, she lost the lead she built after the first and second events.
Biles then finished the routine with a full-twisting double back, but went on to earn a 13.133 on the balance beam and a 14.000 on the floor, and finished with a total score of 57.666, and point and a half behind Ohashi.
Despite the victory, Ohashi would stop pursuing her dreams of joining the women’s Olympic team a few years later, due to a series of injuries, surgeries and criticism of fans, she explained in a video for The Players’ Tribune last year.
“There was a time where I was on top of the world, an Olympic hopeful,” Ohashi said, adding, “I was unbeatable until I wasn’t.”
“I was broken,” she continued, “Gymnastics was my worth, it was my life. I hated myself.”
Fans and gymnastic insiders criticized her after she gained weight, she told the Tribune.
“I was told that it was embarrassing how big I’d become,” she explained. “I couldn’t accept myself. Gymnastics was my worth, it was my life — and I hated myself.”
Biles, meanwhile, would eventually become a four-time Olympic gold medalist.
Ohashi said she eventually rediscovered her passion for gymnastics and found happiness once again.
“Having a different goal and path to follow to finally find joy and love within the sport again,” she told The Player’s Tribune.
She added, “That’s all it took to feel like a person again.”