Former UCLA gymnast Ohashi to make pro debut at Aurora Games
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi will perform in the inaugural Aurora Games, an all-women's sports and entertainment festival.
It's the first professional competition for the 22-year-old Ohashi, who finished college with 11 perfect 10s. She helped UCLA win the 2018 NCAA team championship, when she was co-national champion in floor exercise.
She graduated from UCLA in June, six months after one of her routines went viral.
"I'm excited to be participating in the Aurora Games," Ohashi said in a statement. "To be a part of an event that was named after a Roman Goddess and celebrates women in sports is definitely something I wholeheartedly support."
The Aurora Games will be held Aug. 20-25 in Albany, New York. It features 150 world-class athletes, including Olympic medalists and national champions. They'll compete in tennis, basketball, ice hockey, figure skating and beach volleyball.
Aurora Games organizers also announced Wednesday that recently retired UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field will oversee the competition and choreograph a group number on Aug. 21 at the Times Union Center.
"I think it's a great idea. I am all about opportunity, inspiration and entertainment," said Kondos Field, who coached the Bruins to seven NCAA gymnastics titles. "The Aurora Games provide a platform to bring all of these together on one stage.
"We do celebrate these high-level athletes so infrequently — every four years at the Olympic Games. To be able to give an audience a glimpse of how impressive these athletes are in a little bit more relaxed environment, to give them an opportunity to compete and perform and be on TV more than once every four years, is what struck me," Kondos Field said. "I am excited to be part of the team putting this together. We are going to put on a must-see show."
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and five-team Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci will serve as honorary captains.
Team Americas and Team World will compete for the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Trophy, the official trophy of the Aurora Games. She was named the "Greatest Female Athlete of the First Half of the 20th Century" by The Associated Press for her achievements in several sports, including golf, basketball, baseball and track and field.