“The Ranch: Home of an American Sports Dynasty,” a one-hour documentary exploring the Karolyi Ranch, a U.S. gymnastics national team training center, and chronicling the making of the 2016 Olympic team, will premiere on NBC on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
Bela and Martha Karolyi defected to the U.S. in 1981, after training gymnasts in Romania such as 1976 Olympic all-around champion Nadia Comaneci.
Since the mid 1980s, the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas, has been a training ground for U.S. Olympic champions such as Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug.
In 1999, it became a training site for the U.S. women’s national team. In 2001, Martha Karolyi became the U.S. women’s national team coordinator, a role she will shed upon retirement following the Rio Olympics.
The ranch, though, is expected to remain a key hub for the program that seeks its first repeat Olympic team title in Rio.
The U.S.’ best female gymnasts — including Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman — make several visits to the ranch per year.
“If you come here, you come for a reason,” Bela Karolyi said in a press release. “The reason is to get better and better. No one comes here to fool around. Everyone who comes here has a goal to grow smarter and better. This is the place I created from nothing. This place is my life.”
The U.S. Olympic team of five women will be announced July 10. All of the gymnasts in contention are expected to compete at the P&G Championships in St. Louis this weekend.Follow @nzaccardi