Former U.S. women’s gymnastics national team coordinators Martha and Bela Karolyi quietly filed a lawsuit last month against USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee, saying the couple didn’t know about Larry Nassar’s “reprehensible conduct” and would have reported it if there had been any suspicions about him.
Star U.S. gymnasts, among more than 100 who said they were sexually abused by the convicted Nassar, said they were abused at the Karolyi’s ranch in Texas during national-team training camps.
The Karolyis seek more than $1 million in damages in the lawsuit, first reported by the Houston Chronicle.
“Any child who was violated by Nassar, it’s a crime and it’s so sad,” Martha Karolyi told Savannah Guthrie for a “Dateline” special that aired on NBC last week (full episode here).
How could the Karolyis not have known about the alleged abuses committed at their property?
“I heard during the testimonies that some of the parents were in therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this — and the parent couldn’t see. How I could see?” Martha Karolyi said.
“The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding, boom,” Bela Karolyi said.
Martha Karolyi led the national team for 15 years before retiring after the Rio Olympics. She told Guthrie that in “no way” did she suspect Nassar was sexually abusing athletes.
The Karolyis have been named as co-defendants in several civil lawsuits filed against Nassar and USA Gymnastics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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MORE: World champion gymnast sues Karolyis, others over Larry Nassar abuse
World medalists Jade Carey and Riley McCusker headlined gymnastics action over the weekend as the World Cup circuit continued with an all-around competition in Birmingham, England, and an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar.
Carey won both the vault and floor events in Doha, pushing her to the top of the standings on both apparatus (she also won the vault and floor competitions the previous weekend at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan).
Doha marked the halfway point of apparatus World Cups, putting Carey in a promising position to qualify for the Tokyo Games heading into the next four events. The apparatus World Cup series includes a total of eight competitions spread over two seasons, and one gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the Olympics based on his or her top three results across the eight events.
Carey, 18, was the 2017 world silver medalist on vault and floor. But she opted not to try for a spot on the 2018 World Championships team due to the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules that active team members who help their countries qualify team spots for Tokyo (as the U.S. women did in November) cannot earn individual spots. Carey, an apparatus specialist rather than an all-around gymnast, chose the World Cup route to keep open her options of qualifying individually.
McCusker, who was part of the U.S. team that won the world title last year, finished second at the all-around World Cup in Birmingham, posting the top scores on the uneven bars and floor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist, won the event. Mustafina bounced back from a shaky showing last weekend at the World Cup in Stuttgart, where she finished fifth in an event won by Simone Biles. Mustafina, 24, is trying to qualify for her third Olympics after giving birth to daughter Alisa in June 2017.
The all-around World Cup circuit continues on April 7 in Tokyo, Japan, where two-time world all-around medalist Morgan Hurd and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are expected to compete.
MOSCOW — Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.
Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.
Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.
Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.
Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.