BLYTHE: Myth number 2: Are you planning to keep competing elite or go down to level 10? Because that’s been the big internet rumor and I don’t know where it came from, but there it is.
KATELYN: I know. It’s so funny [LAUGHS] Everyone thinks they know what’s going on. But I don’t even really know what’s going on yet. I had a back injury at American Cup. And so I had to take a break from that.
[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]
JESSICA: A special bonus episode dedicated to the one and only Ms. Katelyn Ohashi. Happy Thanksgiving gymternet!
ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey gymnasts, Elite Sportz Band is a cutting edge compression back warmer that can protect your most valued asset: your back. I’m Allison Taylor on behalf of Elite Sportz Band. Visit elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: This is episode 61 for Friday, November 22, 2013. I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from the Gymnastics Examiner
JESSICA: And this is the number 1 gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you the most fascinating personalities in gymnastics. Today we’re starting with a very special episode dedicated completely to an interview with Katelyn Ohashi. We talked about her note on Instagram that she put up a couple weeks ago and how she seemed a little POed at the people who thought they knew what was going on with her. So we invited her to clear the air and tell us what’s happening. So I’m so excited for you guys to hear this. She’s a lot of fun, this kid. Oh my gosh. Instagram and Keek don’t lie. If you love the show, please rate us or review us on iTunes. Recommend the show to someone. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and we’re on Google+ as well and Instagram. We love hearing from you guys so please send us an email, tell us what you think of the show firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can leave us a voicemail, 415-800-3191. Or you can call us on Skype, it’s Gymcastic Podcast and leave us a voicemail. You guys we have this incredible incredible incredible team of transcribers who transcribe every single episode of this show. So you can go on our website, go to the archives page, and if you like to read instead of listen or you want to clarify something, if you’re in an argument with a friend yes she said this I told you, you can go to our archives page. And thank you so much to our amazing transcribers. A special happy Thanksgiving to them. I’m very very grateful for them and all the work they do for us. And what else do you I need to tell you guys. Next week we are on hiatus. We will be stuffing ourselves all next week and getting ready to do something amazing for you in December. Oh, also you can support the show by shopping on our Amazing store or you can donate directly if you would like. Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving week and safe travels to all. And I hope you enjoy this episode. Thanks for listening.
BLYTHE: Today’s Katelyn Ohashi interview is brought to you by Tumbl Trak. We’ve talked a lot about Tumbl Trak’s products for gymnasts, including their incredible Porta and in ground traks. But they also have plenty if your passion is dance, cheerleading, martial arts, or even if you’re just looking for something to entice your child to stay active or channel their energy into. And here we’re talking about climbing robes, hopscotch mats, slack lines, even cargo nets. So even if your child isn’t a gymnast, their site is well worth a visit as you plan your Christmas shopping. As a special Thanksgiving incentive this week, air traks mini mountains and catchers are 10% off. To learn more visit Tumbl Trak at www.tumbltrak.com. Tumbl Trak. Do it again.
BLYTHE: 2011 Junior US champion Katelyn Ohashi has been the subject of much gymternet speculation of late. After winning the American Cup in March in her senior international debut, Ohashi disappeared from the elite scene in order to have surgery and rehab old injuries. In her wake, there have been rumors and speculations. Is she retired? Will she be back? If so, when? Today, Katelyn has graciously accepted to answer some of these questions and clear the air. Ok well Katelyn, thank you very much for taking the time to do this today. And we hope that this is not going to be your prototypical interview. I’m not proposing to ask you how you got started in gymnastics or what age you were when you realized your true potential or anything like that. The fact is, you have an incredible internet following. And you’ve got really cool things going on online through Keek and ask.fm and everybody reads them. And so what we propose to do actually at the moment is kind of a gymternet myth busters, Katelyn Ohashi edition, to start off with. Because there are a lot of things that are being written about you, and I know you haven’t responded to most of them. And so if I could just ask you a couple of like you know true/false or somewhere in the middle questions, and you could respond to that, we could just get an update on where you are and what your status is. Does that sound ok?
BLYTHE: Awesome. Alright myth number 1: are you still training at WOGA?
KATELYN: Yes I’m still at WOGA
BLYTHE: Myth number 2: Are you planning to keep competing elite or go down to level 10? Because that’s been the big internet rumor and I don’t know where it came from, but there it is.
KATELYN: I know. It’s so funny [LAUGHS] Everyone thinks they know what’s going on. But I don’t even really know what’s going on yet. I had a back injury at American Cup. And so I had to take a break from that. But I’ve been out for probably around six months healing that. And then I got my shoulder cleaned up from a labral tear. And then I just started coming back recently and the same symptoms on the other shoulder happened. So I’m going to take another break from that, hopefully no surgery, but I’m just going to heal it up and see if I can start again soon.
BLYTHE: I see. So it’s been an interesting year for you. You’ve had a few different issues here and there. Did you injure your back at American Cup or was it just a thing that was just sort of from training and then it kind of compounded?
KATELYN: It started really bothering me probably a week before. I mean I was so close I might as well finish it up and go and compete and then it’s just something I really needed to rest afterward.
BLYTHE: Yeah I understand. So are you still in the gym on a day to day basis or did you really take some time off and just try to heal and not move around too much?
KATELYN: I still came in to the gym most of the time. I mean I kind of got a break, so I got to go on vacations here and there. That was nice you know. Sort of like normal teenage life.
BLYTHE: So is Valeri still coaching you?
KATELYN: We thought that maybe it would be better if I went over to Laurent’s team. Just because Valeri’s so busy with the national team stuff, like for the junior national team or TOPs, whatever. So we thought it’d be better and easier if I went to Laurent’s team.
BLYTHE: That makes sense. And what’s it like working with Laurent?
KATELYN: He’s a really great coach as well. Like they have some different approaches to things, but they’re both probably equally as good coaches.
BLYTHE: Like different approaches how?
KATELYN: Maybe more Laurent sometimes is more patient. Just stuff. And like skill wise if something bothers me, he knows to lay off of it. I don’t really know if that makes sense [LAUGHS]. Just different.
BLYTHE: No that does make sense.
BLYTHE: And speaking of skills, you do some pretty hairy skills. Of all of the things that you do, what was the scariest for you to learn?
KATELYN: The scariest would probably be my full. Or no no no wait, that’s a lie. My ono and healy on bars. Those were terrifying. Actually they still are to be honest.
KATELYN: You know some days you have those off days. And it just feels like I will be crooked on one side and I try to push over to the other side and it just won’t go so I feel like I’m going to land on the bar. And I don’t know, stuff like that. I mean actually I have a couple times. [LAUGHS] One time I was doing a healy and I was really crooked and low and so I let go of the bar and I landed on my shins on the low bar. That was probably one of the most painful things [LAUGHS] I’ve done.
KATELYN: Yeah I’ll take splitting the beam over that any day. [LAUGHS]
BLYTHE: Good to know
BLYTHE: Alright so here’s another true or false for you: The Disney Channel offered you, Victoria Moors, and Simone Biles your own TV show. I read that online the other day. True or false?
KATELYN: Oh man how come I didn’t hear about this? [LAUGHS] Yeah false but I wish,
BLYTHE: Yeah we wish too actually. We think the three of you would be quite hilarious all together.
KATELYN: Yeah that would be awesome.
BLYTHE: Oh speaking of videos, this Keek video of you with the cookie monster pants. What’s the story behind that?
KATELYN: Actually Tori sent me this video of this girl on Keek who had these pants. So I decided to go out and buy them and kind of imitate her. Yeah that was pretty fun. I’m surprised I could keep a straight face that whole time, but I think I was trying so hard that I just [LAUGHS] managed to keep a straight face.
BLYTHE: Well we loved that video and we wouldn’t mind seeing more things like that.
KATELYN: Have you seen the one of me going into Walmart like that?
BLYTHE: Yes and that was actually the next question. The next rumor is that you were escorted out of a store by security for frightening shoppers while wearing those pants and running around.
KATELYN: Frightened some shoppers
BLYTHE: So are you still homeschooled or are you back in regular school with your break?
KATELYN: I decided to go to regular school this year since I won’t be going internationally so I won’t be missing as much school. But I just have three off campus PE periods, so I only go from 11:45 to 4:15. So I still get my double workouts in.
BLYTHE: And how do you like being in regular school after several years of being homeschooled?
KATELYN: Oh gosh, it’s so different. It’s actually at first I was really nervous about it because most of these people have already known each other forever. But I found friends and I guess I kind of fit in. I mean I kind of stand out because I look like I’m 5 compared to all these kids [LAUGHS]. I did see someone shorter than me though.
BLYTHE: Oh really? Also a gymnast?
KATELYN: I don’t think it was a gymnast but I don’t know. I had to tweet about it as soon as I saw her.
BLYTHE: And what do your friends think of your gymnastics career. The ones who aren’t involved with gymnastics themselves.
KATELYN: I think they think it’s cool. My friend apparently her and her mom looked me up on Wikipedia and they watch my YouTube videos.
BLYTHE: Alright. So here’s a question that you can- it’s sort of one of those college entrance exam questions. But we do ask it of all the elite gymnasts we talk to. And what we were hoping was that you could tell us something you learned from each gym you went to and each coach you worked with. And feel free to totally use this as SAT prep or for college application essay later on, something like that.
KATELYN: Ok. Well I think when I first started out gym and went to Gym East, I kind of learned my discipline and just the basic stuff. How to compete well under pressure as much as you can. And then when I went to Al they taught me probably they taught me a lot of respect and beam skills. Armine was really good beam coach. So I learned a lot of my beam there. And then Valeri at WOGA he’s more he helped me a lot on bars. Like I was kind of awful when I went to him, so that helped a lot. Yeah I don’t really know how to answer this question [LAUGHS]
BLYTHE: No it’s a good answer. And do you find gymnastics fun? Shawn Johnson for example she always emphasized gymnastics was a fun activity for her. Not that you use the word fun a little bit less, but she also talked about how rewarding it was so accomplish her goals. And so what’s your take on that? Do you think gymnastics, is it fun for you?
KATELYN: Yeah see [LAUGHS] I don’t know if I would classify it as fun. I mean it is, but it isn’t. It’s also a love/hate relationship. I think I always think about it like you know most people are like oh god you don’t have a life in gymnastics, but to be honest we really do. I wouldn’t have been to all the places I have been if it weren’t for gymnastics. And I think the rewards, those are a lot of fun. Like I mean having followers on Instagram like that [LAUGHS] I mean that’s kind of fun [LAUGHS].
BLYTHE: Yeah, yeah that definitely makes sense. And right now, who is in your training group at WOGA? Or else are you teammates with at the moment?
KATELYN: At this moment I have no idea actually. I mean I kind of just go on my own sort of, but Madison Kocian and Alyssa Baumann and Sarah Ogden. Kyra, I don’t really know her last name, but she’s from Russia. And Lauren Farley. Those are all younger elites from there that are coming up and they’re going to be, well they already are extremely amazing but they’re going to be up there.
BLYTHE: Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. And can you describe a typical workout for us? What do you go in and do on a daily basis?
KATELYN: I normally run on the treadmill sometimes. Or just around the gym. 15-30 minutes. And then I do stretch or warm up thing. Then I do conditioning for around an hour, 30 minutes. And then start events. Normally I like to start on bars because you don’t have to be as warmed up for that. Kind of gets you a little more warmed up. And then go to- depends on how much time we have left, maybe tumbling. And then that’s the end of practice. I mean [LAUGHS] and then we come back later that afternoon and we have a quick warm up and stretch and then we go to beam and do our routines. And then we go to whatever we have left. I’m surprised we don’t get more in in the 7 hours we’re there but it goes by fast.
BLYTHE: I can understand that. And so now that you’re in regular school, you’re going to high school, do you find it more tiring than if you were just doing some home school stuff and then are more able to be sort of more present in the gym and aren’t physically moving around between high school and gym?
KATELYN: Well I haven’t really got like my actual full workout that I normally do since I’ve been to school because of injuries. But I think it will be because normally I kind of like slack off and sometimes sleep if I was tired from school. But now I have to stay up later because of homework and stuff. So yeah I think it’ll be a little more challenging. But at least gymnasts are trained to have that kind of mental thinking [LAUGHS].
BLYTHE: Have you been able to use the I’m so sorry I’m a gymnast and I was at practice excuse with your teachers in high school yet?
KATELYN: Not yet. But I have missed a lot more than I probably should. But they were all excused because I’m either at the doctor, or on an unofficial.
BLYTHE: Speaking of that, how are those unofficial visits going?
KATELYN: I’ve only been to UCLA and I went up to OU this last weekend. They’re a lot of fun. I’m really interested in UCLA right now. That’s probably my number one school that I want to go to. So we’ll see where that goes.
BLYTHE: And so what is attractive to you about UCLA?
KATELYN: That it’s in California [LAUGHS]. That’s what I really like.
BLYTHE: That’s incredibly honest.
BLYTHE: You could get a Miss Val choreographed floor exercise. That would be cool.
KATELYN: Their routines are so good. There’s this one girl I need to- she’s going to teach me how to dance hopefully. She’s so good.
BLYTHE: So you have done some really cool traveling. South Africa, for the Bumboo Cup. And where else have you been?
KATELYN: I’ve been to Fono, Italy, actually a lot of places in Italy, like Fono, Venice, Rome, got to cross off going on a gondola on my bucket list.
BLYTHE: That’s great. What else is on your bucket list?
KATELYN: I want to go skydiving. And cliff jumping. And learn how to snowboard, surf, and skateboard. Those are my main ones. Oh and visit Greece.
BLYTHE: As far as skiing and snowboarding goes, is that something you’ve got to put on hold because I can’t imagine any high level gymnastics coach being like yeah go ahead and go skiing, don’t worry about your knee.
KATELYN: Right? Yeah. Probably put that on hold until after. Don’t want to mess anything up. That would be not good. Oh yeah so I just got snowboarding instead of doing gymnastics.
BLYTHE: Be like what?
KATELYN: If I go to UCLA, someone’s going to teach me how to surf there.
BLYTHE: You know if you go to UCLA, I bet you that they have classes. Like literally classes for credits on surfing. Like, Jess can you-
JESSICA: Oh totally. There’s high school surf teams here. All the high schools have surf teams.
KATELYN: That’s so cool.
BLYTHE: That’s amazing.
JESSICA: You will totally learn to surf. And of course everyone skateboards and there’s skateboard parks at the mall here. I don’t know if you have that in Texas but here you go the regular mall and part of it is a skateboard park.
KATELYN: Yeah we don’t have those. So cool though.
JESSICA: And then of course you know my other dream for you is that you will I mean I like to tell everybody what I think they should do with their lives [LAUGHS] so this is one of those things about me. And I keep thinking oh ok well Katelyn totally has to go to school in New York or Chicago or Hollywood because you have to be on Saturday Night Live someday. And so then to be in Saturday Night Live you have to go to be in the Groundlings or what’s the other thing called- First Second City I think. They’re like these comedy troupes and they’re only in Chicago and LA. So and that’s how everybody does those before they go on Saturday Night Live. So I don’t know if you’ve thought about a comedy career.
KATELYN: That’s so funny because when I went to UCLA Miss Val started dancing and she’s like come on guys you can’t be on my team if you’re not weird. I was like oh I’m weird. She goes, yeah I know, I heard you could have your own Saturday Night Live show. I was like that’s so cool. That would be so much fun.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Yes oh my god you would be hilarious. Standup comedy, Saturday Night Live. And you could be the first rapping Texas/Washington girl to be on Saturday Night Live.
KATELYN: [LAUGHS] I’m working on a new rap actually.
JESSICA: Yes! Oh my god I can’t wait to hear it.
KATELYN: Did you hear the one me and my friend wrote and we put it on YouTube?
JESSICA: No I only heard I think you were doing one that was like already a song and you were doing a cover, but I haven’t heard the original.
KATELYN: Oh so me and my friend just wrote this thing because we were both injured. So we didn’t have anything else to do during gym [LAUGHS]. So we decided to write a rap. It’s actually about food. I don’t think the coaches enjoyed that very much. But it’s just a joke. [LAUGHS] So we went to the store like actually a whole bunch of stores and we recorded it. And we have these big baggy sweatpants on. And yeah it looks like we eat a lot.
KATELYN: But it was a lot of fun. It took us so long to record though, like five hours because we kept laughing.
JESSICA: We can totally understand that from doing this show.
KATELYN: It’s called Food For Lyfe
BLYTHE: Ok if you were in charge of survival gear for training camps at the Ranch, what would you include for each gymnast?
KATELYN: Bug spray. Definitely. [LAUGHS] And maybe an umbrella. Maybe a towel from sweating so much.
KATELYN: Yeah. Yeah.
BLYTHE: Awesome. Do you have a competition in your head that you would like to attend if you know I know it’s kind of up in the air for you right now but a lot of people say a lot of the Olympic team has said I’d like to get back by Nationals next year. Do you have a target like that?
KATELYN: I mean I think that would be great if I could get back to compete Nationals next year. But I’m just going to take it step by step and see where it takes me.
JESSICA: Can we tell people what your back injury was? Is it something specific or would you rather not people don’t know?
KATELYN: It’s kind of hard to explain. Like I don’t really even know to be honest. I had to get a lot of second opinions and third opinions on it. And it’s just something with my spine. And it’s not stable and it is not irregular looking [LAUGHS]. It’s not straight but it’s not sideways. It’s like forward. I don’t even know how to describe it. [LAUGHS] People are probably trying to figure out what I’m saying.
BLYTHE: My last question for you is about the fanbase. You know you have such great fans and what’s your favorite thing a fan has done for you?
KATELYN: I love when they give me they send me stuff in the mail. Or fan mail. And actually I just got a minion a couple months ago because everyone knows that I kind of love them. Which I mean now I’m a little over them because I get so many[LAUGHS] minion things. But that was really sweet. And just all the support. That’s awesome.
BLYTHE: There’s a lot of people out there that really really appreciate your gymnastics and wish all the best in the future, no matter what it holds for you.
KATELYN: Yeah and I appreciate them.
JESSICA: Alright well thank you so much for doing this interview, this was so fun to talk to you.
BLYTHE: It was
JESSICA: We really really had fun talking to you.
KATELYN: Thank you so much I had a blast.
ALLISON TAYLOR: This episode was brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. Elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: Visit elitesportzband.com, that’s sportz with a z, and save $5 on your next purchase with the code Gymcast.
JESSICA: If you enjoyed what you heard from the fabulous Ms. Katelyn Ohashi today, let her know on Instagram or Twitter or Keek or ask.fm. And tell her you enjoyed her interview. I’m sure she’d love hearing it. And we’ll be back after Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful holiday everybody. Thanks so much for listening.
[OUTRO MUSIC KATELYN OHASHI]
BLYTHE: Oh when you first made the national team, what kind of swag did you get and who gets better swag, the juniors or the seniors?
KATELYN: Wait, what kind of what?
BLYTHE: What kind of swag do you get?
BLYTHE: Yeah swag. Like warm ups, key chains, I don’t know.
KATELYN: Oh oh like what kind of clothes?
BLYTHE: Yeah. Or what kind of stuff, gym bags-
KATELYN: [LAUGHS] Swag, dang I [inaudible]