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Aurora Games: Ohashi's perfect performance helps Team Americas

Aurora Games: Ohashi's perfect performance helps Team Americas

Viral sensation is outstanding in floor exercise
Aurora Games: Ohashi's perfect performance helps Team Americas
Katelyn Ohashi of Team America competes on the artistic floor for gymnastic night during the Aurora Games at Times Union Center.
Photographer: Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer

ALBANY — It was only fitting that mega star Katelyn Ohashi brought the house down with her final performance.

The 4-foot-9, 22-year-old UCLA graduate with the golden touch scored a perfect 10 in the floor exercise to help Team Americas edge Team World 158.5-158.3 in the Aurora Games gymnastics competition before a crowd of 4,210 Wednesday night at Times Union Center.

Team Americas needed a near-perfect performance from Ohashi after Tatiana Nabieva of Team World recorded a 10 in the second-to-last effort. Ohashi had to record at least a 9.9 to pull out the team victory.

“It was really cool tonight. The turnout was amazing,” said Ohashi, a 10-time All-American who graduated in June and came out of retirement for the Aurora Games. Ohashi’s perfect score in the floor exercise at the Collegiate Challente in Anaheim, California, went viral on YouTube, viewed more than 47 million times. She received six perfect scores for floor exercise as a senior.

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“I’m so glad I came out of retirement for this,” Ohashi said. “I didn’t know what I needed in my exercise for us to win. I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to leave it all out on the floor in my last appearance, and I think I did.”

The gymnastics competition was divided into five parts. Team World, led by Megan Surman, won the power tumbling portion, but Ohashi’s 9.9 in the balance beam led Team Americas to a win to knot the overall team score.

Parkour, a non-traditional gymnastics event that is set up like an obstacle course, was scored for both speed and style. Although Steffany Navarro and Camila Stefaniu Ribeiro clocked times in a little more than 15 seconds to carry Team Americas to the win in the speed portion, Team World came back behind Sillke Sollfrank and Aleksandra Shevchenko to take the style portion.

The aesthetics or floor exercise was comprised of a team dance and three individual floor exercises. Nabieva went last for Team World and scored the night’s first perfect 10, setting up the dramatic conclusion by Ohashi.

“The platform here is amazing,” Ohashi said. “Before, young gymnasts only had the Olympics to look up to. Now, we’ve got a competition like this. It gives the young girls something to shoot for.”

Two other Team Americas stars also came out of “retirement” to pull of an amazing night of entertainment and athletic prowess. McKenna Kelley, the daughter of U.S. Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton, helped her team win the balance beam with a score of 9.7.

“It was a blast,” Kelley said. “It reminds me a lot of what it was like to compete in college. Of course, Katelyn brought the house down, just like everyone expected. This was definitely worthwhile to come back out of retirement. We all had a lot of fun.”

Alicia Boren, a four-time  Junior Olympic national level all-around champion, struggled on the balance team — where she was a 2016 All-American for LSU — bought rebounded with a 9.9 in the floor exercise.

“This was so much fun,” Boren said. “This experience was amazing. I was a little surprised that the caliber of gymnastics was so high after the entire Team Americas squad came back out of retirement. But when I received the call to participate in this, I didn’t hesitate. It was definitely worthwhile.”

BASKETBALL THURSDAY

Team Americas squares off against Team World in the basketball competition Thursday night at 7.

The game, which will be played in four 10-minute quarters, will feature Olympic medals winners, national champions and former WNBA players, including Team Americas player/coach Lindsay Whalen, Barbara Turner and Laia Palau, who competed in the Olympics three times Spain.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.

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