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You can listen to anything from guided wellness programs to exclusive audible originals you won't find anywhere else. Visit audible dot com slash thirty four thirty or text thirty four thirty to five hundred five hundred. That's audible dot com. Slash the number thirty f thirty or text the number thirty FBAR. Thirty to five hundred five hundred. A word of warning, this episode contains mature language depicting instances of sexual, physical and or emotional abuse of children. And oh, hey, guys, take I'm 60, 40 year by year, Marta would literally clear rooms.
Everybody was afraid of Marta because she had that much power.
How do you think what do you do from the moment it cuts?
I remember going into the means and they're like, are you nervous? I'm like, nervous for what? Have you met Marta like? She's terrifying. And she got tough. A task master.
Yes. Yes. If we gave 100 percent, she wanted 110. If you gave 110, she won 120. Nothing was ever good enough for Marta. And I think that's what made us so good. I'm 100 percent happy with my career. I could not wish for anything more. Just the last time for Marta.
She's a legend. Fantastics God.
This is episode seven, The Unraveling. Elite gymnastics moves in four year cycles, one Olympics ends and the march toward the next begins. Marta Caroli was in her last quadrennium, as they call it, that 73 this will be Marta's final Olympics as coach, unfortunately, and the good stuff has to come to an end.
In July of 2015, Marta made it official she would be retiring after Rio. She was about to choose one more Olympic team. And one of the gymnasts fighting for a spot on that team was an athlete from Little Canada, Minnesota. My name is Megan Nichols.
I was on the USA National Team for gymnastics and now I go to the University of Oklahoma.
In 2014, Maggie turned heads when she took bronze in the all around at Nationals.
Her lifelong Olympic dream started to feel tangible now because she just looks so steady this moment right here. Wow. She's a tough she's a tough cookie. She finally feels like she's in the mix.
And by 2015, the 17 year old had established herself as one of the top all around gymnasts in the country. She'd even gotten Marta Karoly to acknowledge her improvement. You said the other day that Maggie is maybe the most improved this quadrennium. What did she show you here that maybe further made her case? Wow. She just showed that she's very persistent and her execution and technique of skills. It's very nice. It would be a selection today. She obviously would be nothing.
This was a huge compliment coming from a woman who was notoriously stingy with her praise. And it was a huge step forward for Maggie, who'd never felt very secure about how Marta viewed her.
I was never Marty's favorite, really. I don't know if anyone was really close with Marta, but if you were one of the best and she liked you more than some of the other athletes and treated you maybe a little bit better. Maggie knew that earning Mardas praise wasn't a guarantee of anything and that she'd have to stay healthy going into the Olympic year because she knew Marta would regard her differently if she thought she was vulnerable. That's the reality. I have all this information on my mind, not only about the best course or the performance, but about how strong of a person it is, how dedicated a person it is, how disciplined a person in these.
In March of 2015, Maggie had tweaked her knee at the ranch and was seen by the national team doctor, Larry Nassar, right away.
I just felt very uncomfortable and I knew that what he was doing was I didn't think it was the right thing to do any, like, close the blinds. And it just felt very weird.
Maggie was the daughter of medical professionals. She knew how doctors were supposed to treat patients throughout her gymnastics career. She had been seen by lots of doctors and physical therapists. But her visit with Nasser left her uncomfortable. So she said something to a friend.
I was actually talking with one of my teammates and my coach overheard, and so she asked me about it. And then that's when things kind of got started.
Maggie's coach, Sarah Jantzi, overheard Maggie describing in pretty graphic terms treatment she had received from Larry Nassar.
And what was the conversation with your teammate like? I was asking if he has ever done that to her and like if she felt that it was right or wrong or we both didn't really know because, like, we are always told to trust him that he was the best at what he did.
Sarah suspected that she had heard a description of sexual abuse.
As she reported it to new USA Gymnastics Women's Program director Ronda Fein. Same Rhonda Fein who went to the 1988 Olympics as an alternate with Marta and Bela Rhondda, then called USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny. Sara Jhansi had called me as well, so Sarah called me right away. Gina Nichols is Maggie's mother. I was in total shock. I was really, really upset. And I called my husband. We were both really scared and upset and were like, well, we need to call the authorities.
My husband's a physician. I'm a nurse. You know, we're a mandatory reporters. But before they could go to the police, Steve Penny intervened. He immediately called me in and said, you don't need to call the police because USA Gymnastics will take care of it. But he said over and over again, do not tell anybody this is secret. I guess we believe them. I mean, he said he was doing it, so I guess I didn't have any other.
I just assumed he would. Aggie wasn't involved in the conversations the adults were having. Instead, she stayed focused on the Olympics. She continued to train at the ranch and pursue a spot on Marta's final team, along with her friend and teammate, Simone Biles.
The first time I remember meeting Maggie was at a camp. And then ever since then, we had just been like best friends. We laughed at the same things. We enjoyed the same things. Just our personalities match really well.
Both gymnasts had struggled to get in Mardas good graces. Even Simone Biles, the most dominant gymnast of her generation, had to constantly prove herself.
She is a talented girl, but also you always have to pat your talent with consistent training regimen.
In fact, when a 13 year old Simon had shown up for her first developmental camp at the ranch back in 2011, it went about as badly as it could go.
I was like, Oh, man, being invited to a summer camp, that's going to be so fun. I get to stay in a cab and get to be with the girls now. We went there and it was like a boot camp. That's what they should have called it because it was not fun. They should take the word camp out of it and I did not enjoy it.
Simon struggled at the camp and Marta came down hard on her.
She said I was sloppy and if I didn't get it under control like the power, it would be a waste of talent. Yeah, Marta didn't like me back then.
Simone's mother, Nellie Byles, remembers learning that Simone would not be invited back to the ranch.
Marta did not want her to return. And I mean, that was very disappointing. And I thought that attending this first camp was a turning point for Simone in her career, just to know that she she was told not to come back anymore. And it was it was Simmons. Oh, definitely her attitude. Someone forgot to tell you that it was definitely her attitude. And Marta did not care for that, because if Marta said, Jim, you're supposed to say how high and Simone was not playing the game at that time.
So it was hard being not young and having someone tell you that you're not good enough when you feel like you're trying your hardest. I was not I was not about that. And that was it. And so an entire year, someone had to train at the gym and not return to camp for that entire year that she was banned.
But Simon had an incredible junior season during that year of banishment. And so Marta relented and invited her back to the ranch. I think Marta saw I had something special in me before I knew it myself. So she was always very hard on me, like sometimes to the point where I not thought it was unfair. But she definitely expected a lot more from me than others at times. I remember I didn't stick my two and a half hour ball and she told me I was useless for the team.
And I was like, oh, OK, well, I'm useless guy, sorry, maybe I should pack up and go home. Even as Simon developed into a world champion, she still found it hard to get praise out of Marta.
You have to come as close to perfection as possible in order to keep the world supremos.
She would say, like, good, good, very good. Those little things, because Marta would never tell you that it was perfect because she never wanted us to stop trying, just brush off everything to the side and don't get disturbed by being named Superman or whatever. In the summer of twenty fifteen, Simon and Maggie looked forward to the year ahead, hoping it would end with both of them bound for Rio.
Now, Simon Byles has been so dominant, you say, OK, well, who's been doing the best job? At least trying to keep up with her. And the answer is Maggiano's.
Simon took gold in the all around at Nationals in August. Maggie took silver. Coming in second to Simon was about the best any gymnast could hope for. A year out from the Olympics, Maggie couldn't have been in a better spot. Behind the scenes, a decision was made by USA Gymnastics and Marta Karoly to allow Larry Nassar to make a quiet exit, Nasser said he was retiring from his job with the women's national team.
My reporting partner, Bonnie Ford, he made the announcement in a Facebook post in September 2015, three months after Maggies coach reported him to USA Gymnastics.
The Post made his retirement seem voluntary, like it was a personal choice.
The most striking thing about it to me was this line he wrote about Marta. As Marta once said to me, we are like husband and wife. We have our disagreements, but it is always about what is best for the children. After Larry was out of the picture, Marta and USA Gymnastics kept quiet about Maggie's allegations. Marta was the president of the Culture of Silence. She was the minister of the Department of the Culture of this is all bad and no one said anything.
So all retaliated against you. Jessica O'Beirne is the host of a podcast called Gymnastic. For years, she'd heard off the record from gymnasts about MARTA strong arm tactics.
The athletes are afraid of retaliation. They afraid they wouldn't be invited back to camp. They were afraid that they wouldn't be chosen for teams. They were afraid that they would be treated differently. They were afraid of everything. Maggie Nichols hadn't intended to report on Nassr, but once she did, the Nichols' felt that their relationship with USA Gymnastics and Marta changed because Maggie had broken the culture of silence when she reported her abuse. USA Gymnastics totally abused her and our family.
It was a long year. There you go, is your world all around champion old files of the United States?
As the year progressed, Simon and Maggie's paths started to veer in different direction. So Miles is considered the greatest of all time. You just run out of. But things for Maggie got Rocky in April of 2016, just months before the Olympic trials, Maggie tore her meniscus and required knee surgery.
She went from the girl Marta was calling most improved to the girl who would have to prove she could bounce back.
She is a girl who is very determined and she will do everything in her power to come back to the shape that she was before that injury.
Twenty seven days away. Five will represent the United States. Who are they going to be? The Olympic trials start now. As we often say, the selection committee is watching everything. But the two most important eyes in the building are those. Marta Karoly, who's the boss of Team USA, will start things off with Maggie Nichols on the ball trying to get to the Olympic Games after two really bad knee injuries. What are her chances?
Marta said for Maggie to be in the hunt, she has to be as good as she was in 2015.
I wasn't really close to 100 percent going into Olympic trials. I still had to wear a lot of tape on my knee and couldn't train as much as I wanted to do and get all the skills back that I could have done before.
And that comes into account on this event right here, because she was capable of doing this very difficult. But we'll hear from some on Bylsma. It's called an. She's been flirting with trying to do what Maggie wasn't ready to perform the amanah again, one of the hardest faults in gymnastics. So instead, she competed a vault with a lower difficulty score, and that's going to make her quest a little bit harder.
But she nailed it, Maggie had solid performances on the beam and bars and finished with impressive tumbling on floor. I mean, I think that was one of my best Florida teams.
That's really hard to do after coming back from an injury like that.
And she still believed that she had a real shot of making the team. But you may have seen in the background during routine, the selection wasn't really watched, but Maggie's parents were watching. Since the moment they arrived in the arena, they had been aware that something was off.
Our names were torn off. Our seats for were the Alfie's parents are supposed to be because we'd been to all these things before and we were always miked. We always knew what we're supposed to said. And we didn't get miked. We weren't talked to. We were ignored. Maggie's fate was still up in the air, but her best friend's destiny was all but certain. Simon.
Not only is she a champion three time world champion, she is probably the best that has ever been. She's going to go to Rio. She's going to win a boatload of medals that Simon was guaranteed a spot on the team because she finished first at trials. Everyone else's fate was in the hands of the selection committee.
And you know, her last Olympics for Girl wants to make a huge statement that was very happy and pleased with how I finished the competition.
I had never seen anybody come back from an injury and be so confident.
Finally, Mark Foley is out. They've made the decision and now they're going to tell the team, I've been in a room like this before where the athletes are just sitting there waiting for Marty to come in. And there she goes. He's going to make five young ladies dreams come true right now.
Maggie placed sixth overall at trials, but when Steve Penney announced the Olympic roster, it's now my great pleasure to introduce to you the five ladies who will represent the United States of America in Rio de Janeiro, three time world champion Simone Biles. Maggie wasn't even named as one of the three alternates.
They will be joined by the three replacement athletes. Please welcome McKayla Skinner, Ragan, Smith and Ashton Clear. These are your Olympic team members for 2016.
I was kind of just confused and I wasn't called. But I mean, at the time, I just trusted the national staff. And Martin, who they pick the team.
Well, I think Maggie Nichols is going to be devastated because a year ago she was definitely on this team, kind of broke my heart, not hearing her name on the team because everybody knew she earned that spot.
Everybody knew it. Even Martin knew she belonged on the team. Might have cried when she announced the team.
It was all predetermined that she wasn't going to be part of it.
I don't think Maggie made the team because I think somebody had power over Marta when she selected that team. I think there were deals that were made under the table. Right now at the Olympic Arena in Rio, the first of many nights we have been looking forward to for a long time. In 1996, there was a magnificent seven. In 2012, a fierce five. This group will make a name for themselves tonight. The expectation is enormous. The pressure, as well as modest, really will say goodbye to USA Gymnastics after these Olympic Games.
The U.S. gymnast stepped onto the competition floor and dominated, and no one more so than summoned by the judges.
Put your pencils down because that right there, that is an Olympic gold medal. Without question, Olympic gold medalist in the all around, Simona. This has been her destiny all along, Ziman won gold in the individual all around, gold on vault, gold on a floor, and it was Simmons epic floor routine that put an exclamation point on Team USA's triumph.
Get the gold medals ready again.
The five gymnasts whispered plans as they waited to hear the announcers confirm their win.
It's official the U.S. had won back to back Team Gold. The gymnast huddled around the TV camera. Now by the final five of Perotti. Wow, that's special. I guess that's a great big thank you to Monica. What a legacy. I'm 100 percent happy with my career as a gymnastics coach. I think I could not wish for anything more.
I feel like I'm not sad of finishing because I know that our ideas will stay there and our work with the base was put down. And, you know, I think the building will stay up. The Karalis returned home from Rio at the pinnacle of their careers for 50 years, they chased a dream of gymnastics domination, the kind Russia had once enjoyed. And here it was. Now, the United States was the team that every other nation was chasing.
Shortly before the Olympic Games, USA Gymnastics had announced a deal to purchase a portion of the ranch from the Karalis for three million dollars, Bela and Marta would continue to live in their house. But USA Gymnastics would control the training facilities and run all of the camps held there. The Karalis were bowing out of gymnastics for the last time, but their ranch, their life's work would continue to be the hub of women's elite gymnastics in America for generations to come.
Good evening and thank you for joining us. Shocking allegations tonight. This is a controversy that could cast a pall over the gold medal winning tradition. That is women's gymnastics, allegations that strike at the heart of a very successful U.S. Olympic sport and the most famous tandem of gymnastics coaches in the world.
A month after Team USA's triumph in Rio, the Indianapolis Star reported on allegations against Larry Nassar. And once those accusations were made public, the news exploded, accused of sexually assaulting young girls in his care over a period of 19 years. These sexual assault charges are rocking the gymnastics world. It had taken Olympian Jamie Dancer years to come to terms with her experience. I was still in my own head. I, I couldn't really believe that that had happened to me.
I was just like, oh, I wonder if it happened to anybody else. But as more and more women came forward, that's when I started feeling like, OK, it's not just me. I remember when I was the 15th woman that came forward for some reason, I don't know why was that number, but I remember that was a big moment of like, OK, I'm right, I did the right thing. And X national team member reached out to me and sent me an article and it was like, read this and let me know what you think.
Matty Larsson was the gymnast who believed Larry had lied to her about her broken ankle.
And I've read it. I was like, let me to get me to like, it was just weird and overwhelming. And the way she described Larry is, quote unquote, treatments exactly what I had experienced. And I ended up calling back that teammate and we were just kind of in shock. And like the not a lot of talking on the phone. I just kind of like silent was like, I, I don't even think we said the words.
I think the first time I said the words is when I called my sister, I was like, I'm pretty sure I was molested by my doctor all of the years that I had him.
Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, Olympic hopeful Ginnette Antillean, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, an Olympic bronze medalist. Tasha Schweikart, we're all beginning to understand that Larry Nassar had abused them.
Well, at first I was planning on being anonymous. At first it was really scary for me because remembering being abused, I hadn't thought about Larry's treatment since it happened. And then when all this came out, thinking about that and then having to go back so many years and think about all of it all over again, like it was something for me that once it was finished, I just wanted to leave it behind, deciding to speak out. I didn't do that for myself.
I thought by showing courage I could help others. I feel like sometimes like people don't realize how triggering it is for me, but I, I put my mentality at jeopardy to help other people.
And I know it's affected each of our lives very differently, but very negatively. The number of women coming forward kept growing more than 140 women and girls and growing more than 250 women and girls have accused Nassr of sexual abuse.
One of the worst things we have seen in U.S. Olympic history. And like Seaman Jamie Madie Jordan, Jeanette Tarsha, many of those survivors had come up as national team members through the training system at the Coralee Ranch. Several of NASA's alleged victims say he abused them at the Karalis facility. Did you think he was doing anything bad? Oh, no way. I don't think so that the gymnastics committee couldn't recognize this. Everybody said Larry Nassar is a good doctor.
Larry Nassar is a good guy.
The Karalis are adamant that no one ever raised concerns with them about Dr. Nasser. Never, ever.
One single complaint, not ramblings. Not. Absolutely not. There's something creepy about that guy. Absolutely not.
But under oath, in a 2017 deposition, Martta admitted to having been informed of Maggie Nichols complaint.
Were you ever advised by any USGA official in or around you June of 2015 that they had received a complaint that Dr. Nasser had molested a national team gymnast at the ranch? Yes, I did. And who who reported that to you about Mr. Pálmi?
When you think about some of the biggest names in gymnastics and they say they were violated here. How do I sit with that? That's awful. But I would say even if they have big names or they have no names, any child who was violated by an eyesore, it's a crime. How much do you think they knew? Oh, it's that's the hardest question because. I can't say one hundred percent, they knew exactly what Larry was doing, but I don't think they were doing their job and asking any questions about what he was doing.
I think that they're hugely responsible, but I don't think that they think that they're responsible. I think they believe their job was to come in and create a system that produced results. I think they took that very literally. This training environment that they built, this environment that they created was the only reason why Larry was able to exist and to sexually abuse so many people, because we essentially lived in fear at those camps and could not communicate anything. I don't even really care if she knew or not because she was the one who thought it was OK for him to be alone in a room with us at any time of the night to treat us.
And she just like didn't care. So maybe she knew. Maybe she didn't. I don't care. She put us in harm's way by allowing that to happen.
Like you're an adult, you're taking charge. You wanted this position. You took this position to take charge of our national team. But you want all the power, but none of the responsibility. Like, no, no, no. My wife, I wash my hands clean of it. I had I had nothing to do with it. But it's like, yes, you did. You were there. You were there, first of all, training camps that organized by USA Gymnastics, it's not organized by Baylor or more accurately, it has the Coriolis name on it and our hearts and your party.
Yes, but the property was leased by USA Gymnastics and they run the activities.
I'm a mom. I have a little one. If one of his little friends comes to my house and gets hurt or something happens to him, that's my responsibility. I'm the one in charge of him. So when we were on their property, who was in charge of us?
Word late Thursday from USA Gymnastics, they're cutting ties with the Karoly Ranch in Texas for more than a year after the Nassr News first broke, USA Gymnastics kept holding training camps at the ranch despite backing out of the three million dollar purchase agreement. But in January of 2013, the federation severed its relationship with the KARALIS completely. The decision came three days after Simone Biles tweeted about USA Gymnastics continuing to use the ranch as its national training center.
I felt that if I sent that out, I would be helping others speak up and speak out. So I just hit send as I was walking into the gym, put my phone down and started practice.
It also came as Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan and was sentenced to a maximum of 175 years in prison. During Nassr sentencing hearings, 204 women read victim impact statements in open court. Mattie Larson was one of the national team gymnasts who tied her abuse back to her time at the ranch to complete detachment from the outside world on top of careless and neglectful adults, made the ranch the perfect environment for abusers and molesters to thrive.
Marta, did you keep Larry around because she was a good doctor or did you really keep him around because he let us compete when we were injured and was willing to keep your secrets? The questions about who bore responsibility were only growing, and Gymnast's, like Simone Biles, were not backing down on calling out the adults who had failed them. I don't mean to cry, but it's just we had one goal and we've done everything that they asked us for even when we didn't want to, and they couldn't do one damn job.
You had one job, you literally had one job and you couldn't protect us. At least a dozen gymnasts have filed civil lawsuits naming the Karalis as co-defendants. All of those lawsuits are on hold. USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and all other cases are stayed until that is resolved. Texas authorities belatedly carried out their own investigation.
We do not believe that there is any corroborated evidence with regard to Bela and Marta Crowley that they did anything wrong.
Prosecutors are finding no evidence of any wrongdoing by Coaches Bellette or Marta Karoly.
The Waukesha County district attorney's office says there was, quote, a total failure by USA Gymnastics to protect these young gymnasts.
I think the Crowley ranch now has been painted with a brush that will not be allowed to be forgotten. The Karalis were never charged with a criminal offense, but in the fall of 2018, former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penni was arrested on a charge of tampering with evidence for ordering a USA gymnastics employee to remove medical records from the ranch before it could be searched by Texas authorities.
His case is pending.
The Crowleys have maintained their innocence and ignorance when a superior court in the state of California.
And do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Yes, yes. Thank you. So I understand your answer. You do not believe it was your responsibility? What I am saying, the gymnast that not under my control at all. Have you ever met a doctor? Larry Nassar. I've seen him passing from one dream to another on a remote job, saying hi, hi.
I feel extremely bad. I don't feel responsible, but I feel extremely hurt that this thing happened and it happened everywhere but happened here also.
The casualties have only given one interview since the Nassr news broke to Dateline in April. Twenty eighteen. I try to think back about all kinds of situations of Nassau working with the kids and I could not find anything.
It's. My conscience is very clear, I can make this statement in April, twenty eighteen, they filed their own lawsuit.
The Karalis sued the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics. They say that they shouldn't be held responsible for lawsuits connected to or sexual abuse and they didn't know it was happening. The Karalee say that the organizations are pinning this on them to, quote, shift the blame away from themselves.
This miserable man destroyed everything I was working for my my facilities, my dreams, to be honest, lifelong work and also my health.
He's not the same strong man, you know, that he used to have such a stature of greatness.
Shelly Stack was one of the original Karoly girls back in the 80s. She became a coach and a judge and served on the national team developmental staff during Marty's tenure. She was at the ranch the day USA Gymnastics announced it would be shut down and she still visits with Marta.
And Bela is lost weight and he still has a full head of hair.
That's quite amazing, but he's definitely he's frail. And you can see that time has changed him drastically in the last three years. It's very sad. Marta, on the contrary, walks every day like three to eight miles.
She walks every day and continues to do it and she looks great. You would never guess that she is anxious as she takes care of herself perfectly.
Bela and Marta, through their lawyer, turned down our interview request, so Bonnie and I took a trip to the ranch to see it for ourselves. We stayed at a distance. The Crowleys still live on the property, but there was no sign of them. The day we drove, there was eerily quiet. You know, after having heard of the Crowley ranch for so long and aside from a couple of butterflies, we haven't. Scene life. Anywhere the ranch is empty.
And the thing that that they enjoyed most was being a part of creating gymnastics, you know, that's what their passion was. So we can see from here the signs there's a red and white. Signs that point towards the various lodgings for the athletes, and they're all named after Olympic's. You know, there's Beijing and Athens, there's also a sign saying no visitors or parents are allowed on premises during camp program. That's pretty straightforward. All of the USA Gymnastics and U.S. Olympic Committee signage has been removed, most of the animals are gone.
The gyms are locked. The power has been turned off.
You know, Bella was so proud when he would talk about that they were going to leave the ranch to USA Gymnastics and that would be their gift to the sport in the U.S..
Nancy Armer is a columnist for USA Today.
He was so proud of that. And to know that it's not just that, you know, there aren't the monthly camps there or anything else, but their association with a federation of sport is gone and they have to be confronted by that every day.
Did you ever hit a gymnast? Now, probably over 50 years ago in Romania, when even slapping or spanking, that was a common procedure.
Yes. I don't know about the rest of the United States, but I can tell you the Romanian gymnast, they all are destroyed as humans.
It's always hard to talk about it because in many ways it's such a private part of my life. I don't like to remember. But unfortunately, I do remember many things which they have been haunting me for over three years now, Gabby Jaiku Laska and Trudy Cohler are elite gymnasts who trained with Bela and Marta in Romania. He was an excellent coach. I have to give it to him. He was I mean, at that point, he was the best coach in the world, but I had to pay a big price for that.
And to this day of paying the price for that, I had nightmares for 30 years. They hurt me so badly and I took it in so deeply because all of us were good children.
The Karalis physical and emotional abuse of Romanian gymnasts was documented in a 600 page secret police dossier that was declassified in 2005 and reported on in the Romanian press. It corroborated the gymnast stories of starvation, beatings and the disregarding of medical advice. But those accounts were never reported in the U.S. media. Choreographer Gays Opposer had been an informant inside the Karalis gym in Romania in the 70s. He reported the physical abuse he witnessed. But after Geisa defected with Bela and Marta in 1981, he remained quiet for years.
He wishes now that he had been more outspoken earlier in the United States.
I wish I had been, but I wasn't, you know, my personal life and my story was too tight. You know, the Berlin matter, the time that I just I don't know. I don't feel good about it. Why did you continue to work with them? Dibella Because we are the same blood Hungarian. You you can't deny your family. They were like family. And we worked so long together. He became for me, he was the biggest influence in my life.
Gymnastics made Romania famous, and it was so much pressure on us that we need to to deliver the medal and not any medal gold. If it's not gold, it's not good enough. You're not good enough. I started at four years old and my mom told me that I pointed to the TV and was like, I want to do that. I always wanted to go back into the gym and take more turns. And everyone else skipped the line so I could do more gymnastics.
I was doing gymnastics in the yard. I absolutely was toop in love with this.
And then as soon as I stepped in the gym, of course, I loved it. I loved the phone, that I love the trampoline. I love doing it. I loved watching it.
Honestly, like to flip around is so much fun. And as a kid, I always had dreams of flying and that was the closest I could get to it ever since I was little. Every single day I loved it more. I just remember loving gymnastics so much to hating it to this kind of inner conflict of this love hate relationship with it. I'm telling you, I don't see any other way than we did to prepare. Gymnasts who are successful.
I will say this about the Crowleys. They've done amazing things for gymnastics in this country. Kerri Strug has won the gold medal standing on one leg.
They did amazing things. They are two of the hardest working individuals in the sport of gymnastics in any country they did in Romania. They did it here. Olympian and TV commentator Kathy Johnson Clark and former USA Gymnastics President Mike Jackie watch the Karalis build their empire.
From the time they arrived in America, Karoly changed the direction of gymnastics in the United States.
The gold medal goes to Mary. Oh my God. I can't express. Obviously, as long as you win, who's going to challenge you?
You win the Olympic gold medalist and you say, well, we ought to do it different. Well, what should we do different?
We're going to win two Olympic gold medals, gold and silver medalist, one, two for Team USA. The problem was because they went unchecked. Kathy Johnson, Clark reporter Scott Reed and former UCLA coach Val Kandos Field have all seen the Coralee system upclose, Martta took us to the top of Mount Olympus. But you when you look down, you see a lot of carnage and you're going to be looking at carnage for decades when you finally make it. That has a wonderful way of just sort of softening edges and memories and and moments that may have been horrible, but now suddenly, OK, it's OK.
And and to some, they even feel like. But that's what made me to because it made me tough and it made me resilient.
I used it and it helped me. But also, guess what? It broke some people.
It completely broke some people.
They created the greatest gymnastics dynasty in American history, maybe in the history of the world, one of the greatest Olympic dynasties in any sport. Yet simultaneously, they created a culture that created the greatest sex scandal in American sports history and that left a trail of hundreds and hundreds of victims. When you look at the Crowleys, their legacy is 50 50. It's the gold and the price of gold.
So the big question is, is there a difference between winning and success? If you're going to subscribe to a win at all costs mentality, will you take the responsibility of the collateral damage? The Karalis created a gymnastics empire, but in the wake of so much damage, Bella and Mardas legacy is littered with questions. And it's the generations of Coralee gymnasts who live with the burden of how they achieved that success. We gave up our childhood to represent the United States of America.
USA Gymnastics as an organization, they brought them in to create the system and to win, and I think the Curley's thought in a win at all costs because that's our job.
That's what we're here to do.
Everything that they supposedly worked for, they did it on the sacrifice of little girls, bodies, minds, their mental health, their emotional well-being. How can anybody say that success? I would ask them why they only felt like there was one way to win.
They produce champions and then all the other coaches who come up and they see that they think, oh, this is the way you're supposed to cheer athletes, is how you create your results. How can you say you did any good and not more harm?
So to me, you don't have a legacy, you have a trail of emotionally and mentally as well as physically broken gymnasts. What coach Bela and Marta Karoly brought to the sport Baylor colonial era.
They came to United States as immigrants and brought the United States to the highest level of gymnastics.
Judges put your pencils down that it's an Olympic gold medal winning.
What they did was great. It worked.
I am proud of what I have problems with is the price of the gold medal is not worth the sacrificing of a child.
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