Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi says body-shaming makes her feel ‘sick’ in powerful speech

'The objectification of our bodies is making me sick'

Sabrina Barr
Thursday 11 July 2019 09:05
Katelyn Ohashi discusses body-shaming during ESPY speech

Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi has opened up about the negative impact of body-shaming while delivering a heartfelt speech at the ESPY Awards.

On Wednesday 10 July, the 27th annual ESPY Awards took place at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, honouring "excellence in sports performance" in the United States.

During this year's ceremony, Ohashi received the awards for "Best Play" and "Best Viral Sports Moment", for her viral gymnastics floor routine which scored a "perfect 10" at a college gymnastics competition in January.

While accepting her "Best Play" award, the 22-year-old explained in a rousing spoken-word speech that with viral fame came a torrent of online abuse, much of which was directed at her appearance.

"Thankful to the internet that made this all happen. But along with that, it's important to understand cyber attacks – the respect that people unfortunately lack," the UCLA gymnast said as she addressed the audience.

Ohashi explained that the leotards she wore for her gymnastics routines during competitions resulted in online trolls taking it as a "duty to judge" her body.

"Too revealing, too fat, she's so thick – the objectification of our bodies is making me sick," the ESPY winner stated.

Ohashi continued, outlining how people frequently pin women's sports against one another, "acting as if they can't co-exist".

"Thankful to live in a country where females can compete, so trust me your words will never be the reason for our defeat," the gymnast said as she concluded her speech.

Katelyn Ohashi on the red carpet at the 2019 ESPY Awards

This isn't the first time Ohashi has opened up about the body-shaming she's experienced since achieving international fame.

In May, the gymnast told BBC Sport how a coach had once expressed anger in for gaining weight prior to returning to training.

"A coach was upset I had put on weight," Ohashi said.

In August 2018, the athlete told The Player's Tribune that she was "compared to a bird that couldn't fly".

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Several people have praised Ohashi for her powerful ESPY speech.

"Katelyn Ohashi wins speech of the night!!!" one person tweeted.

"Kudos to @katelyn_ohashi for using her opportunity to make that outstanding and poignant speech," another remarked.

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