UCLA gymnast on her electrifying floor routines: "What you see is literally how I feel"

UCLA gymnastics star Katelyn Ohashi scored another perfect 10 over the weekend for the floor routine that made her an internet sensation. But it is her smile, not the score, that is important to Ohashi and her coach, Valorie Kondos Field. Together, they overcame Ohashi's physical and emotional scars so she could rediscover a love of the sport and herself.

Ohashi's electrifying tumbles are punctuated with joy.
"I think competing is one of my favorite things ever. And so what you see is literally how I feel every time I step on the floor," Ohashi told CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas.


Six times this year, her floor routine earned a perfect 10. But Ohashi laughed at the move getting so much attention where she hits the floor in splits. She recalled the first time she did it.

"I remember you could probably hear me screaming across the gym. I'm like 'AH!' coming down. And it just kind of happened where I like bounced up because of the springs in the floor. And it just kind of stuck after that," she said.

The excitement has caught on. The UCLA gymnastics team is setting attendance records with sell-out crowds of nearly 13,000.

But behind that smile is a legacy of overcoming pain.

Ohashi literally grew up in a gym. By the age of 12, she made the national team and became the target of body shaming.

"We take it in and believe a lot of the things we hear. So to hear that you're not good enough, to hear you're too fat, to hear just a lot of hurtful and verbal abuse, you start to think that that's normal and that's what you deserve," Ohashi said.

Like many elite gymnasts, Ohashi developed an eating disorder.

"Me and my friends would create these like jokes almost, or like games and stuff. And like we would try to eat the least amount of food," Ohashi said. She acknowledged that wasn't normal, but it was accepted.

"I remember one time I couldn't make a floor routine 'cause I didn't have the energy. I'm like, 'Well, I only had raspberries today.' And they're like, 'OK, haha, so?'" Ohashi said.

As a way to cope, she kept a journal, writing: "I cry myself to sleep most of the time now... I've been told I looked like I swallowed an elephant or a pig."

Her body began to break down. In 2013, Ohashi scored better than Simone Biles in the American Cup. But while Biles went on to win four Olympic gold medals, Ohashi suffered a fractured back and torn shoulders.
"I really was so unhappy and like hated the sport. The joy just got ripped away so soon," Ohashi said.

She credits her coach at UCLA, Kondos Field, with bringing back the passion and the fun.

"I don't come to athletics with this burning desire to win at all cost 'cause that's not in my DNA," Kondos Field said. "I get to develop superheroes through the sport of gymnastics. So I get to help everyone of them become the best them they can be. And let's go take that out into the world and make it a better place."

Ohashi worked with a sports psychologist and a dietitian to develop a healthy relationship with food and body image. But as she turned the corner, she faced a new battle: ulcerative colitis, an auto-immune disease that causes the colon to bleed and robs the body of needed nutrition.
"So I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis two years ago. And the first thing I hear is, 'Oh my God! You look so amazing! Like, how you did you lose so much weight so fast?' Chronically ill," Ohashi said. "And people are just talking about how good you look because you weigh a certain amount."

That sent Ohashi back to her pen and paper to process her new world. She started a blog called "Behind the Madness." In it she writes, "There is no normal, we just don't talk about the abnormal."

Ohashi bravely takes it all in stride. As her gymnastics career comes to a close next month, she hopes her next chapter includes a book deal. But first, her team is trying to repeat as national champs with Ohashi showing off her signature moves.

"Miss Val always goes, 'Booty! Booty!' whenever I do it," Ohashi said with a laugh.

"Do you love that?" Yuccas asked.

"Yeah. So much fun. And like having the team behind me is just like amazing," Ohashi said.

What's amazing for everyone else applauding a woman who can stand taller than most of us at just 4-foot-10.