Marta Karolyi interview

Well the rumours about them leaving the US were true. Lots to chew on and disagree with here. Thank you to Attila Kálnoki Kis for the interview and Lauren for translating.

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Not the wisest decision on Marta’s part. I expect her lawyers will be displeased.

No students of theirs ever complained??

Apparently Dominique Moceanu never existed.

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it is at once enraging and absolutely unsurprising.

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OK. So Marta notes that "Our lawyer asked us to not speak if we didn’t have to.”, and then goes on to give a totally gratuitous interview?

I’m no legal expert but if she’s a dual citizen living overseas with no US assets, she’s basically untouchable isn’t she?

I haven’t read the interview, but could she have meant at the time?

Surely she can’t be that oblivious to the amount of gymnasts that have spoken out since.

Not at all untouchable – as Prince Andrew is finding out. Just a hassle to deal with. You typically go through the Hague Convention. Its a hassle and you do have to be worth the effort which she likely is not. I never thought there was any civil case against her. Still . . . . . . .do what your lawyers tell you to do. We are the ones who know how to mitigate risks. Its our job. We earn our living dealing with the problems that result from things going wrong.

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You think there’s a criminal case against her?

It is also to his credit that we have focused even more on the development of physical strength, speed, and accuracy, because the execution of acrobatic elements in gymnastics ultimately depends on speed and strength. Therefore, the selected little girls took part in a strong conditioning program in Onesti, and later in Deva. During the workouts, they did body weight exercises for a half hour, they ran a lot, and only then did the apparatuses come. In addition to the early selection, this kind of change in training methods was another of Bela’s innovations.

Can we attribute the long journey towards celebration and acceptance of power athletes in gymnastics to the Karolyis?

If not them, who? Would we all be still watching stick thin Russian waifs if it wasn’t for their coaching Mary Lou?

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As much as I’m not a huge Marta fan, you have to admit that this is actually a true take on whats happened over the last 25 years. Not saying its right or wrong. But this is the truth:

“However, over the past ten years, a wave of sensitization has swept through developed democracies that completely reinterpreted what is free and what is not, what is acceptable and what is not permissible, where the limit is for coaches. You don’t have to go back to the Romania of the seventies. It’s only been 25 years since the Atlanta Olympics team final. When Bela encouraged Kerri Strug, who had suffered an ankle ligament rupture after her first vault, with a suggestive look and the famous phrase “You can do it,” as a result Kerri ran, vaulted, stood up for the second time, then collapsed and slipped off the mat with a distorted face. It was considered a feat. After all, the American team defeated Russia for the first time thanks to this last vault. Thanks to Kerri’s training and pain tolerance, Team USA won historic gold. 25 years ago, the incident was celebrated by the American people as a triumph of willpower. Even Bill Clinton called Bela to see if he could borrow that phrase in his presidential campaign. Nowadays, this is also criticized, misinterpreted. Some say it’s downright a sin, saying the coach, even at this crucial moment of Olympic gold, shouldn’t ask for it, let alone instruct his competitor to continue while injured.”

Can you blame a 74 year old Romanian woman for not keeping up with modern takes on culture and being “athlete centered” etc. Society evolves and gets better over time. She was of a different age.

Marta was consistently celebrated, over a fifty year period, by governments communist and capitalist, for her methods. They were reinforced and rewarded. It’s all she knew.

I genuinely don’t think she knew about what Nassar was doing. The culture of the Ranch was a perfect breeding ground for it - but I don’t think that means you can blame her for it happening.

It’s like homophobia. Barely 10 years ago, prominent Democratic politicians were saying “marriage is between a man and a woman”. I don’t begrudge them for holding those views then.Obama saying “marriage is between a man and a woman” in 2008 (or whenever he last said it) could argue created a breeding ground for homophobia in the USA. It is unfair to stretch that to blame Obama for homophobic hate crime then.

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No.

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Right

So while technically not untouchable, practically, with no prospect of any success in a civil or criminal suit against her, she is.

Totally agree

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My point was that being out of the country does not make her untouchable. That no one is going to bother going after her in a civil suit (trust me it is an incredible hassle) is a separate issue. There is just no real case against her and Bela whether she lives in the U.S. or elsewhere. I may be incorrect about this but I believe she and Bela are both named defendants in the USAG case. Manly et al are settling that without even involving them. They just are not real targets of anything.

And for sure no criminal case. I do not think anyone ever even considered that.

Right.

So while they might be displeased, it’s probably not going to affect her legal position, whatever she says.

Unless she comes out and says “yeah I knew what Nassar was doing and consciously decided to let it continue” (which she wouldn’t say because it’s probably not the case) - she can pretty much say what she wants.

The thing is you never know. Once you are named in a legal action you need to do what your lawyers tell you. Words are dangerous when spoken by non lawyers who do not understand the implications of what they are saying. And there is lots more she could say which could potentially be a problem at some point than blurting out “yea I knew what Nassar was doing.” Hate to keep picking on your fellow Brit, but Prince Andrew is a great example of why you just do NOT say anything publicly unless your lawyers have approved it. That disastrous interview he gave – he did not say “yea, I had sex with an underaged girl that Epstein provided me with.” But he really hung himself with that thing. And it does not need to be anywhere near as drastic as that. Best advice I can ever give anyone who is being questioned by law enforcement about any criminal matter is “wait for your lawyer to show up and tell the cops you will not speak to them until they do.” And best advice I can give anyone involved in any civil matter – follow your lawyer’s instructions. And do not discuss the case with anyone else. Especially with the press

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Literally the most car crash piece of TV in the last 10 years. Was just, open mouthed watching the whole thing.

Ultimately, shutting the fuck up is always an option, and eliminates any possibility of things you felt moved to share in an interview coming back to haunt you. Really, why take the risk? The absolute best thing either Karolyi can do at the moment is go unnoticed.

To a certain extent, i would say. There are also reports of the way they treated the girls in Romania that, if they are true, are really way out of line and horrid in pretty much any context except war. So i struggle seeing her as purely just a product of her time. She was probably extremely trained in looking the other way, tho.