Posted by: bluesyemre | May 27, 2019

Viral gymnastic star Katelyn Ohashi’s battles with body image


American gymnast Katelyn Ohashi tells BBC Sport about her experiences with body image in the sport, saying she was told that she “didn’t look like a gymnast” and “like I’d swallowed an elephant”.

“I was told I didn’t look like a gymnast. I was told I looked like I’d swallowed an elephant, or looked like a pig.”

After a video of American gymnast Katelyn Ohashi performing a ‘perfect 10’ routine went viral in January, many on social media focused on her “infectious passion” and the fact she looked “so fun”.

But the joyfulness of the performance told nothing of the difficult journey she had been on.

Ohashi was tipped for global success when she beat compatriot Simone Biles – now a four-time Olympic champion – in the 2013 American Cup.

But a back injury ended her elite career – and when she returned to the gym after taking a break, she began to struggle with body image.

“I was trying to work through the pain and crying literally every turn I took,” said the 22-year-old. “A coach was upset I had put on weight – he said it was why it was hurting.

“As gymnasts, our bodies are constantly being seen in these minimal clothing leotards. I felt so uncomfortable looking in the mirror.

“I felt uncomfortable walking back into the gym, like there were eyes just targeted at me. I hated taking pictures. I hated everything about myself.

“Even being home was hard. My mom’s super skinny and super healthy and she’d be like, ‘let’s go swimming’ and I’d be like, ‘I’m not getting in a swimsuit in front of you’.”

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