Once an Olympic hopeful who had a negative relationship with her body, Katelyn Ohashi is now a strong UCLA senior with a knack for performing and dynamic skills (have you seen her split-leg double layout?). Katelyn had two viral Michael Jackson floor routines – her first in 2018 and second in 2019 – featuring the moonwalk and tunes from The Jackson 5. Due to controversy over sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson detailed in HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary, Katelyn debuted a brand-new routine at the Pac-12 Championships. She received her sixth perfect 10 of the season on floor at the championships, this time with a performance set to all-female artists.
Katelyn told ESPN that she already planned on making a second routine – she and coach Valorie Kondos Field agreed that it would be a good way to end senior year. But in a new blog post shared on April 7, Katelyn explained in further detail why she replaced MJ with Beyoncé and got rid of the iconic moonwalk. “Post-season started to approach, finals were finishing up, and it seemed like the perfect time to make a change,” she wrote. “At the same time, the documentary film Leaving Neverland came out. This sparked debate, started conversation and left me with more questions than answers about changing the routine.”
Katelyn continued, “Using my voice has empowered me to take complete ownership of my life. So, in return for speaking my truth, I listen.” She went on to say that her floor coach and some of her teammates are victims of sexual abuse, so she wanted to “stand beside those who know what it is like to be sexually abused, to stand beside those who know what it is like to not be heard, and to stand beside those who have lost a sense of joy.”
She concluded, “I have always wanted my routine to spark joy, for all people. So I stood, and I made a change. Not to play judge or jury, but to get back to joy. If my Michael Jackson routine left even one person feeling uncomfortable or less joyful, I felt like it was in everyone’s best interest to change the music to my routine.” She also added that she wants this altered performance to “showcase all inspiring, strong, impactful women . . . WHO RUN THE WORLD!” Girls, obviously. (Read her full blog post here.) Ahead, check out Katelyn’s new routine in case you haven’t gotten a chance to see it, and prepare to feel all the joy.