Karolyi Responds to Moceanu Comments
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By: Chris Korotky
1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu, who trained with Bela and Martha Karolyi during the height of her career, has recently released a book in which she paints less than a favorable picture of her experience with the Karolyis. She’s also had some harsh words about her training experience in recent media appearances.
Today, at the Olympic Team Trials in San Jose, we caught up with Karolyi following Women’s Podium Training and asked her if she’d like to respond to Moceanu’s comments, and she spoke openly and candidly, saying: “I just completely feel, like sad about the fact that she doesn’t remember the good things. She remembers only the hardships. And you know very well how gymnastics preparations [are] strong work in any areas if you want to be in the top, you have to work very hard and recognize that fact… You know, we teach little girls - set your work based on the goals [that] you set for yourself and if not, adjust your goals if you feel it’s too hard. And it looks like she just didn’t adjust her goals, but she felt it’s hard. I’m suspecting maybe she didn’t have a love of the sport and maybe she was doing more because the parents encouraged her to do it.”
Over the last decade, Karolyi has served as the National Team Coordinator for the U.S. Women’s Program and has been praised frequently by athletes and coaches. Among those in Karolyi’s court is 2008 Olympic Champion Nastia Liukin, who weighed in today on her experience with Karolyi.
“The job Martha has - the way she does her job - is absolutely tremendous,” Liukin said. “And she does everything absolutely the right way, and it’s always for the best interest of the country. She’s been nothing but supportive of me my whole journey, every since I was 12 and made the national team. So for it to be 10 years of constant support, and she’s told me to never give up.”
At the recent VISA Championships in St. Louis, USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny also praised Karolyi for her work as National Team Coordinator and expressed his desire for her to continue in that role as long as she will have the position. "I don't expect anything to change," Penny told The Associated Press recently. "I feel pretty strongly that she's the right person if she wants to keep doing it."
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