January 17, 2019 / 5:44 PM / 5 months ago

UCLA's perfect 10 gymnast targets domestic violence, body shaming

Jan 17 (Reuters) - The UCLA gymnast whose flawless floor routine became a viral video with more than 40 million views by Thursday said she wants to work with domestic violence victims and publish poetry she’s written about body shaming and other issues she faced.

Katelyn Ohashi, 21, of Seattle, a senior who nailed a perfect 10 at the 2019 Collegiate Challenge in Anaheim, California on Saturday, said she hoped her epic gymnastics routine - shared on social media by UCLA Gymnastics on Sunday - conveyed a message of “joy throughout gymnastics.”

Soon after she graduates from the University of California, Los Angeles, in June, her ambition is to appear on “Dancing With the Stars” and then, within five years, to work with victims of domestic violence, she told Reuters.

“I hope to be starting or working on domestic violence and creating a safehouse and starting a program that can help people recover and find the best mental help and stability,” said Ohashi, a Gender Studies major.

She also intends to publish her poetry, which includes a piece titled “Self-Hatred Goodbyes” about the body shaming she has faced in a sport in which competitors’ obsession with body image has been blamed for dangerous eating disorders.

“Because I am my own size and no words or judgmental stares will make me compromise,” reads part of the poem, which Ohashi delivered on ABC television’s Good Morning America.

Ohashi told Reuters she hoped all the attention she has received will help her share her message that “people can use their voice and tell their own truth and just empower other people along the way.” (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York Editing by Susan Thomas)

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