Published: Sun, April 22, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Martha, Bela Karolyi say 'no way' they knew about Larry Nassar

Martha, Bela Karolyi say 'no way' they knew about Larry Nassar

In a Sunday " broadcast that airs April 22 at 7 p.m. on NBC, Guthrie interviews former USA Gymnastics National Team Coordinators Bela and Martha Karolyi, who speak for the first time on what is seen as the largest - and most shocking - sex abuse scandal in the history of Olympic sports.

Bela Karolyi coached U.S. gymnast Mary Lou Retton to 1984 Los Angeles Olympic gold only three years after defecting from Romania to the United States. The Karolyi Ranch would be recognized as an official women's training centre for USA Gymnastics early this century, as Marta took over as head coach of the women's team. She told Savannah Guthrie in "no way" did she suspect Larry Nassar was sexually abusing athletes under the guise of treatment. "Larry Nassar is a good guy'".

"The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding".

The Star's bombshell investigation into the national governing body's practices in reporting child abuse was triggered by the lawsuit, filed by a former gymnast whose coach secretly videotaped her undressed.

Larson told The Associated Press she watched a portion of the Karolyi's interview excerpted on Friday and shrugged.


National gymnastics champion and Nassar survivor Mattie Larson explained in her January victim impact statement how the isolation of the Karoyli Ranch fostered a culture that enabled a predator like Nassar.

"As a former athlete who competed in a sport for the United States myself, I know the complete trust these young women put in their coaches, their trainers, and organizations like FIG and USAG". "I think it's really important to hear what they have to say".

"The complete detachment from the outside world, on top of careless and neglectful adults, made the ranch the flawless environment for abusers and molesters to thrive", Larson said.

Thirteen former US gymnasts and three coaches interviewed by The Associated Press described a win-at-all-costs culture rife with verbal and emotional abuse in which girls were forced to train on broken bones and other injuries. The toxic environment allowed Nassar to flourish in part because the athletes were afraid to challenge authority, according to witness statements in Nassar's criminal case and one of the lawsuits.

The "Today" co-anchor says the ability to tell an in-depth story played a big role in getting people to talk for the special.


Guthrie said she was “surprised” the Karolyis came forward despite the potential legal fallout.

"They answered every question", Guthrie said. The gymnast's lawyer says USA Gymnastics admits no wrongdoing or liability in the settlement.

The Karolyis, who helped USA Gymnastics win 41 Olympic medals, including 13 gold over three decades, trained hundreds of gymnasts at their complex in rural Huntsville, Texas, known as "the ranch". Nassar is now serving decades in prison for molesting women and girls and for possessing child pornography.

Nassar was already established in the program when Martha Karolyi took over the national team. He would visit the ranch during national team training sessions and also accompany the team to events around the world. “And the parent couldnt see.


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