I am no gymnastics expert, but I certainly know a thing or two about a thing or two. In fact, back in the prehistoric age of the 90’s, I watched as Kim Zmeskal and Shannon Miller dominated American gymnastics and headed with high hopes into the 92 Barcelona Olympics. Alas, things didn’t work out for that team.
It wasn’t until the 96 games that the Magnificent Seven - Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug became the first US team to win the gold medal, as well as winning individuals medals for Miller, Dawes and Chow. Of course that team is probably best known for Kerri Strug winning the team gold medal while landing her 2nd vault performance on an injured ankle. Sadly, Zmeskal, missed the 96 games with a torn ACL.
But I haven’t really paid much attention to gymnastics since the end of the 90’s. So, imagine my surprise when even my non-gymnastic following ears perked up at the name Katelyn Ohashi.
“Wait,” Said I, “I’ve heard that name before. Hasn’t she had, like, a few perfect 10’s in modern competitions?”
Turns out, she has.
Twice on balance beam in 2017, three times for floor exercise in 2018 and now, the ultra famous floor exercise that is currently skyrocketing across the internet. That’s five perfect Collegiate level 10’s in the last year and half. And Ohashi does it with the most charming dancing/playset I’ve seen/heard in gymnastics - maybe, ever. Which, as Rebecca Schuman describes in her delightful Slate piece, Ohashi’s exact set (meet?) could only happen at the Collegiate level. From Schuman’s “Why Isn’t All Gymnastics This Fun?” story:
“You see, in the NCAA world, there are rules more befitting the humans of Earth … On floor, this means exactly three tumbling passes and a maximum start-value of 10. And because of this emphasis on execution rather than difficulty, NCAA gymnasts have the time and incentive to train in dance. Simultaneously, because elite gymnasts don’t really dance anymore as NCAA choreography has become more dynamic, with few notable exceptions (such as Dutch wood sprite Eythora Thorsdottir), elite choreography has become … belabored, which is the official gymnastics term for eeeeeeeeeech. The days of Bolshoi-trained masters of the avant-garde such as Svetlana Boginskaya or Olga Strazheva are as forgotten as a Yakov Smirnoff set.”
Wow! Schuman just name dropped Yakov Smirnoff! I forgot all about him. (No, seriously, I did). =)
Anyway, twenty one year old Katelyn Ohashi is at the top of her game right now and her delightful new floor routine shows it. I hope she continues strong and we can all cheer her on in the 2020 Olympic games.
I’ve only watched the video about a, ohhh, say - a dozen times, but I think her playlist from her recent 10 is as follows:
Proud Mary by Tina Turner
September by Earth, Wind and Fire
Maybe another song here but I can’t tell what or who because of the cheering
I Want You Back by The Jackson 5
Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson
Remember the Time by Michael Jackson
The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
Thriller by Michael Jackson