Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi reveals how elite gymnastics left her & # 039; broken & # 039;

Candid: Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, 21, has been candid about how the elite level of her sport has left her

A talented gymnast who was once an Olympic contender has sincerely been open about how the elite level of her sport left her "broken", and how becoming a college athlete helped her find happiness again.

Katelyn Ohashi, 21, explained in a moving clip for The Players Tribune what led her to quit elite gymnastics, even when it seemed unbeatable, due to persistent injuries and body image problems that destroyed her self-esteem.

The gymnast, who has since succeeded as a member of the UCLA gymnastics team, relates in the video: "There was a time when I was at the top of the world … an Olympic hope, I was invincible. I was ".

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Candid: Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, 21, has been candid about how the elite level of her sport has left her "broken", and how becoming a college athlete helped her find happiness again.

Struggles: the gymnast explained what led her to abandon elite gymnastics, even when it seemed unbeatable, due to persistent injuries and body image problems

Struggles: the gymnast explained what led her to abandon elite gymnastics, even when it seemed unbeatable, due to persistent injuries and body image problems

Struggles: the gymnast explained what led her to abandon elite gymnastics, even when it seemed unbeatable, due to persistent injuries and body image problems

In 2013, Katelyn, who was then a teenager, defeated her teammate Simone Biles, who is now 21 years old, and won the Copa America.

The competition was one of the last times that Simone was defeated in an important triumph and the triumphant victory of Katelyn was one of the highlights of her elite elite career, as a result of a childhood and adolescence that she spent relentlessly training in the face of significant pressure from their coaches.

But although Katelyn's elite career might have come to an end in a negative and painful way, it certainly did not start like that, quite the opposite.

"The joy of this girl is simply to be present," says Katelyn in the new clip as archive footage of her practicing as a child plays.

& # 39; She keeps coming and going as if nothing stopped her. Live every day and enjoy every second of that. Turning and turning even at an early age.

"Even when I did not have gymnastics, I was still in the gym, gymnastics was her world, that girl that you would think she had everything, all these medals in her room, podiums where she is standing … She thought she had nothing.

Even when she had an air of "almost invincible," Katelyn explained that she was struggling with body image problems.

"The fans would tell her that she was not good enough, she did not look a certain way," she said.

Retreating: "The joy of this girl is just being present," says Katelyn in the moving video as archive footage of her practicing as a child plays

Retreating: "The joy of this girl is just being present," says Katelyn in the moving video as archive footage of her practicing as a child plays

Retreating: "The joy of this girl is just being present," says Katelyn in the moving video as archive footage of her practicing as a child plays

Past: Katelyn said that despite winning medals and reaching the podiums, she still felt that she had "nothing". and I wanted to live a normal life

Past: Katelyn said that despite winning medals and reaching the podiums, she still felt that she had "nothing". and I wanted to live a normal life

Past: Katelyn said that despite winning medals and reaching the podiums, she still felt that she had "nothing". and I wanted to live a normal life

Changes: Eventually, after suffering a fracture in the back and tearing both shoulders, the athlete decided to leave the elite gymnastics and look for a university career.

Changes: Eventually, after suffering a fracture in the back and tearing both shoulders, the athlete decided to leave the elite gymnastics and look for a university career.

Changes: Eventually, after suffering a fracture in the back and tearing both shoulders, the athlete decided to leave the elite gymnastics and look for a university career.

"She wanted to eat junk food and feel good the next day and not have to worry about being expelled because she could not make a balance, then exercise constantly after a meal to feel good enough to go to bed."

Katelyn said she longed to feel like a girl again and added: "I was devastated."

Eventually, after suffering a fracture in the back and tearing both shoulders, the athlete decided to leave the elite gymnastics and pursue a university career.

Her body image problems followed her to the UCLA campus when she began her new life.

"No one knew completely what was going on and I could never say or post what was wrong," Katelyn said.

"I was happy to have hurt myself." They told me that it was shameful how big I had become. They compared me to a bird that could not fly. "

After struggling to accept herself and fight to hate herself, Katelyn was delighted to find her place on the UCLA team, under the guidance of her beloved trainer Valorie Kondos Field, also known as Miss Val.

Her mother, who was not "exactly happy" when her daughter left elite gymnastics, changed her mind when she saw how happy Katelyn was in her new environment.

Looking back: "I was glad I hurt myself, they told me it was embarrassing how big it had turned me in. They compared me to a bird that could not fly," he said.

Looking back: "I was glad I hurt myself, they told me it was embarrassing how big it had turned me in. They compared me to a bird that could not fly," he said.

Looking back: "I was glad I hurt myself, they told me it was embarrassing how big it had turned me in. They compared me to a bird that could not fly," he said.

Moving: Katelyn and Simone Biles have remained close friends, even though they once competed with each other

Moving: Katelyn and Simone Biles have remained close friends, even though they once competed with each other

Moving: Katelyn and Simone Biles have remained close friends, even though they once competed with each other

Since then, the gymnast has supported athletes who were sexually assaulted by the pedophile doctor Larry Nassar, and wrote a poignant poem about the sexual assault earlier this year after her sentencing.

Katelyn has also spoken out against the pressures that many of them face when it comes to staying a certain size or not exceeding a specific weight.

In August of last year, she shared agonizing notes in the diary she wrote when she was a young athlete to give a clear idea of ​​the pressures and expectations she experienced at that time and how damaging they were to her mental health.

"Since I formed the team last year, I felt the pressure to live at a certain level and fit in with the type of stereotypical body gymnast," he wrote in a 2010 entry shared on the Behind The Madness website.

"My coach believes that getting in or falling is the result of being too heavy, so I have the habit of measuring my thighs with my hands every day to see if I gained some weight.

"Normally I can get to half of them, but today, when I tried, I could not.

"I immediately got scared and told myself I could not afford to finish my half sandwich for lunch this afternoon, and my dinner consisted of vegetables and hummus.

Finding her happiness: Katelyn (represented as an elite American athlete with Olympic athletes Simone and Kyla Ross) has thrived as a college athlete

Finding her happiness: Katelyn (represented as an elite American athlete with Olympic athletes Simone and Kyla Ross) has thrived as a college athlete

Finding her happiness: Katelyn (represented as an elite American athlete with Olympic athletes Simone and Kyla Ross) has thrived as a college athlete

Former teammate: Simone, meanwhile, has returned to the national team, and on July 28 he returned to the US Classic in Columbus, Ohio (pictured), where he won the All-Around

Former teammate: Simone, meanwhile, has returned to the national team, and on July 28 he returned to the US Classic in Columbus, Ohio (pictured), where he won the All-Around

Former teammate: Simone, meanwhile, has returned to the national team, and on July 28 he returned to the US Classic in Columbus, Ohio (pictured), where he won the All-Around

"I'm currently experiencing some hunger pangs, but if I go to sleep right now I can sleep in. I'm used to waking up with the taste of blood or iron in my mouth, as if I almost puked from being so hungry.

Katelyn has thrived as a collegiate athlete. She is twice All-American on the beam and has become increasingly open about the need to change the mentality of elite gymnastics.

"I think gymnastics can be a very brutal sport, but I do not think it's supposed to be a brutal sport," he said in the new video.

"I only hope that in 10 or 20 years there will be people who leave the sport and do not feel affected."

"At the end of the day, I think this should have been my way." I have not been able to feel this kind of happiness in a long time.

"I found my joy, my voice, myself and my love for sports, it's not the result, I'm not standing on a podium with medals, I'm able to come out with a smile on my face and really be happy with myself and that's the first thing. "

Simone, meanwhile, has returned to the national team, and on July 28 he competed for the first time since the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

She made her comeback at the US Classic in Columbus, Ohio, where she won the all-around.

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