Katelyn Ohashi’s path from injury to viral perfect 10

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Before an ebullient floor routine went viral, before gymnastics fans and non-followers alike watched with smiles as she performed at the 2019 Collegiate Challenge, before a video of the routine garnered more than five million views on YouTube, and before she was an NCAA champion, Katelyn Ohashi was an injured gymnast who wondered if she would ever compete again.

Ohashi, now a senior at UCLA, received a perfect 10 this past weekend at the Collegiate Challenge for her personality-packed floor routine, helping the Bruins best three other teams (Cal, Michigan State and UC Davis) to win the event.

The 21-year-old was once a rising star in elite gymnastics. In 2011, she was the U.S. junior champion in the all-around, uneven bars, balance beam and floor. She won the 2013 American Cup, an early-season international meet, topping another gymnast who was then an up-and-coming standout: Simone Biles.

But privately, Ohashi was struggling, both with her body image and the physical pain that came with injuries. In a video published by the Player’s Tribune in August 2018, she says, “That girl you’d think would have it all, all these medals in her room…fans would tell her that she wasn’t good enough, [that] she didn’t look a certain way…I was broken.”

After dealing with serious back and shoulder injuries, Ohashi stepped away from elite competition. Doctors told her she might never return to gymnastics, and “I kind of hit rock bottom where I didn’t think I was going to be able to,” Ohashi said in an interview with FloGymnastics in 2014. She credited her then-coaches, Laurent and Cecile Landi (who now coach Biles), for helping to bring her back. “Laurent and Cecile kind of pulled me out what I was going through and helped me through everything,” she told FloGymnastics at the time.

Ohashi set her sights on competing collegiately, and in early 2015, committed to UCLA. Last season, she helped the Bruins to an NCAA team title, and was the co-champion on floor.

Her floor score last weekend was the sixth perfect 10 Ohashi has earned in her collegiate career (four on floor, two on beam). In finding her way back to gymnastics as part of a college team, Ohashi told the Player’s Tribune, “I found my joy, my voice, myself, my love for the sport.”

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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