How UCLA's Katelyn Ohashi's spectacular routine came to be
Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi is majoring in gender studies at UCLA ... with a minor in causing the internet to wobble. She first captivated the interwebs a year ago with a remarkable performance she calls her "Michael Jackson" routine.
Then she delivered an epic perfect-10 January floor routine that blew past 50 million views and took over all of our feeds for a week. As the No. 2-ranked Bruins prepare for a giant road test at No. 1 Oklahoma on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ESPN), here's a tiny oral history of how one of the nation's very best floor performers put together that remarkable routine.
Valorie Kondos Field, UCLA head coach: Katelyn and I had been talking about this routine since June or July, trying to find music that was catchy and relatable. (They decided on a medley of Michael Jackson, the Jackson 5, Tina Turner and Earth, Wind & Fire.) I said to her, "This will be fun but also technically difficult."
Ohashi: Back home, during winter break, I was sending Miss Val videos from the gym, singing the music myself so she could hear how the routine was coming together. Right up until the meet, we were still working on it.
Nia Dennis, UCLA teammate: Her first tumbling pass was brand new -- literally no one had ever done it before. She always seems to do her thing, but it was still a little suspenseful because this was the first time.
Ohashi: Once I hit that first pass, I knew it'd be good.
Kondos Field: The part after her leaps, right before the last tumbling pass, is ridiculously hard. She doesn't have to do it -- it's not like she gets points -- but it's just so cool with the music.
Shawn Johnson East, 2008 Olympic gold medalist: She flips in the air and lands in a split, which I would never have done. The entire routine is just shockworthy. I was like, "Work it, girl."
Ohashi: When the perfect-10 score flashed, I wanted to get my friends and everyone together on the podium.
Dennis: We all just ran up to give her big hugs. Then, of course, we had a dance party.
Johnson East: The routine was everywhere: Twitter, Instagram, you name it. Katelyn has so much character and sass. To see an elite-level gymnast having the time of her life is what our sport needs. To see her bring such positive light to gymnastics has been incredible. It's a testament to how strong she is as an individual.
Dennis: I've watched that video 10-plus times. I love Katelyn, and I love reliving the feeling of that day.
Ohashi: I tried to stay off social media, at least for a few days afterward, because even through notifications, I was freaking out about the people who were noticing: Jean-Ralphio [actor Ben Schwartz] from "Parks and Rec[reation]," Janet Jackson, Kamala Harris. And I have always wanted to be on "Dancing with the Stars," and then Ryan Seacrest got me on the phone with "DWTS" producer Deena Katz. (No word yet on whether Ohashi will be cast in the show.) This is more than I could've ever dreamed of!