UCLA Coach Helps Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi Find Her Way Back To A Sport She Loves A video of star gymnast Katelyn Ohashi's "perfect 10" floor routine shows her smiling and beaming. But it hasn't always been this way. UCLA Coach Valorie Kondos Field helped her rekindle that joy.
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UCLA Coach Helps Star Gymnast Find Her Way Back To A Sport She Loves

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UCLA Coach Helps Star Gymnast Find Her Way Back To A Sport She Loves

UCLA Coach Helps Star Gymnast Find Her Way Back To A Sport She Loves

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, you may have seen it by now. There's this viral video of a 21-year-old UCLA gymnast earning a perfect 10 while performing this crazy difficult floor routine.

(SOUNDBITE OF TINA TURNER SONG, "PROUD MARY")

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Cheering).

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

She does flips that just seem impossible. She sticks every landing. She dances effortlessly and bounces across the floor.

GREENE: Her name is Katelyn Ohashi, and effortless is really the word. She's out there and just looks joyful, like she's having fun.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE JACKSON 5'S "I WANT YOU BACK")

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Cheering).

VALORIE KONDOS FIELD: Honestly, when you see her, it's like - the happiness that you get when you see a puppy, that's Katelyn Ohashi.

GREENE: Valorie Kondos Field or Coach Val, as she is called, is the head coach of the UCLA gymnastics team.

KONDOS FIELD: She just exudes goodness and love and joy.

INSKEEP: Katelyn Ohashi has devoted her life to gymnastics. Before joining UCLA, she was a teenaged Olympic hopeful who seemed destined to earn a spot on Team USA.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2012 KELLOGG'S PACIFIC RIM CHAMPIONSHIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: This is unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #2: Watch this - full.

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: Beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #2: And just tremendous exercise from Katelyn.

GREENE: But the elite level came at a price - not just the injuries but the body-shaming, the cut-throat competition that left her questioning her self-worth. Katelyn wanted out.

INSKEEP: And she introduced herself to Coach Val, said she was looking for a new start - this time at the college-level.

KONDOS FIELD: And I remember asking her - Katelyn, when was the last time that you just loved gymnastics? And she had just won the American Cup, so she was the greatest gymnast in the world. And she said, I lost my love for the sport when I was 11. She was miserable.

INSKEEP: Coach Val tried to help her find a different way.

KONDOS FIELD: I realized that I had to earn her trust that I cared about her more as a human being than as an athlete and I cared about her in spite of her gymnastics.

INSKEEP: It shows in that video. During her entire floor routine performance, Katelyn Ohashi is smiling.

GREENE: And this is all especially meaningful for Coach Val because, after nearly 30 years as head coach for UCLA Gymnastics, this will be her final season - and what a way to go out.

KONDOS FIELD: And so many people have said that as well, that Katelyn Ohashi is really what we need right now.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Cheering).

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