UCLA Goes Viral: A look back at the Bruin gymnasts who broke the internet
With seven NCAA championships and 19 Pac-12 titles, UCLA women’s gymnastics is unquestionably one of the most successful programs in the history of the sport.
But beyond titles and awards, Bruins gymnasts have a knack for grabbing headlines on the internet.
This is no accident. Many UCLA gymnasts perform their floor routines to popular music with a flare often lacking in competitive gymnastics. The Bruins are aided by the vision of Coach BJ Das, a professional dancer and choreographer who has worked with the likes of Beyonce, P!nk, and Usher.
Most recently, freshman — and Olympian — Jordan Chiles' floor routine went viral last weekend when she earned her first perfect 10 as a collegian.
This Saturday (Feb. 12), Pac-12 Insider is taking a look back at some of the other meets that produced some of UCLA’s biggest moments with the UCLA Goes Viral marathon.
NIA DENNIS FLOOR ROUTINE (2020)
After an electric 2020 floor routine, Nia Dennis (class of ‘21) has seen her celebrity reach incredible heights since joining UCLA gymnastics.
That routine has been viewed over 6 million times, making it the most-viewed video ever on the Pac-12 Networks' channel.
Dennis went viral again in 2021 with a routine that has been described as an “Ode to Black Excellence” using music from Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliot, Beyonce, and Tupac.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 14, 2021
KATELYN OHASHI FLOOR ROUTINE (2018)
Katelyn Ohashi (class of ‘19) became one of the most prominent gymnasts to ever don the Bruin colors. Throughout her collegiate career, she had multiple floor routines go viral, starting with a Perfect 10 in 2018.
Ohashi’s fame vaulted to another level in 2019, when another Perfect 10 routine became one of the most widely shared gymnastics videos of all time, racking up 222 million views on UCLA Athletics' YouTube channel.
Ohashi has embraced her celebrity, winning multiple ESPYs and amassing over one million followers on Instagram. She has used her platform to promote causes close to her heart, including an appearance alongside LeBron James on HBO’s The Shop where she discussed California SB 206, the landmark bill giving student-athletes control over their name, image and likeness.
Gotta respect the elders. @drharryedwards' "Revolt of the Black Athlete" & organizer of '68 Olympics protest, and @kaj33. Thank you for making me aware of exploitation of college athletes, esp. Black athletes. You are my inspiration behind #SB206!@KingJames @katelyn_ohashi pic.twitter.com/ITILyDEutA
— Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) September 30, 2019
HALLIE MOSSETT 'BEYONCE' FLOOR ROUTINE (2017)
Hallie Mossett (class of ‘17) gained media attention for a Beyonce-inspired floor routine which earned Mossett a 9.975.
Mossett’s performance is even more impressive considering that she had to go through years of rehab to get back to elite competition following a 2011 car accident.
SOPHINA DEJESUS 'SALUTE' FLOOR ROUTINE (2016)
Mossett, Ohashi, Dennis all owe a debt to Sophina DeJesus (class of ‘16), the first UCLA gymnast to truly go viral for her 2016 routine.
Since eclipsing over 1 million views with her 2016 routine, DeJesus has become a famous YouTuber and goes by the moniker “Sophina the Diva.”
Catch all these routines and more this Saturday (Feb. 12) for FREE during the UCLA Goes Viral gymnastics marathon on Pac-12 Insider.