July 23, 2008 |
Former U.S. Olympian Dominique Moceanu, who at 14 was part of the 1996 gold-medal team, said Tuesday night that USA Gymnastics team coordinator Martha Karolyi once grabbed her by the neck and slammed her face into a phone, and that former coach Bela Karolyi twice berated her about her weight in front of national teammates.
June 28, 2008
At their absolute best, neither Mary Lou Retton nor Paul Hamm ever nailed a landing as accurately as T.J. Simers nailed the current state of women's gymnastics in the U.S. While saying current female, Olympic-hopeful, gymnasts "who are in many ways victims of child abuse," as well as "misguided and dreadful parenting," and a specific health issue, he might also have included veal calves. How does the current system, originally established by Bela Karolyi and his wife, which mandates physiques barely able to cast shadows, differ from those calves' "growth-stunting?"
June 23, 2008 |
PHILADELPHIA -- If USA Gymnastics had a sense of drama and fairness, if it had insisted that the women's Olympic selection process not end behind closed doors at Martha Karolyi's Texas ranch, at least three women would have been nominated to the team Sunday instead of the minimum two. Based on the national championships and the just-completed Olympic trials, five tickets to Beijing could have been issued without any dispute.
August 14, 2007 |
WAVERLY, Texas -- About 20 gymnasts arrive at a secluded ranch where they are enthusiastically greeted by three dogs as well as a bearhug from Bela Karolyi. The girls and their coaches are then guided toward a metal building filled with chalk dust and vaults, tumbling mats and the welcoming presence of Karolyi's wife, Martha. Everyone is smiling, exchanging cheek kisses and information until practice starts. Then Bela disappears. Martha speaks in a whisper, but she is clearly in charge.
August 8, 2004 |
The gym is quiet, dark. Mats are piled every which way on the floor and a book sits forgotten on a table, its owner finished with classes for the summer. Bela Karolyi sees none of this. He sees and hears what is not there. To him, this airless gym in the John Wooden Center at UCLA is a scene of happy chaos, of high-pitched laughter and bodies hurtling through the air.
June 23, 2004 |
Martha Karolyi does not bestow compliments lightly. That's why it was so telling when Karolyi, the U.S. women's gymnastics team's program coordinator, invoked the names of Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci in discussing Carly Patterson's knack for thriving under duress. Comaneci, with her skill and daring at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, raised the standards of technical brilliance in the sport. And Retton, with sure, powerful performances, helped the U.S.