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The Karolyi Ranch

Good riddance.

Once viewed as a beacon of “dreams, desire and dedication” for a generation of young women, now symbolic of years of abuse and betrayal, the Karolyi Ranch north of Houston will no longer serve as the national training center for the USA Gymnastics women’s team.

The federation said Thursday it has canceled its lease to use the gym and housing complex, owned by famed coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi in the Sam Houston National Forest, as the site of monthly training camps for the nation’s elite gymnasts who have won the last two Olympic team gold medals and the last four Olympic all-around championships.

The announcement by Kerry Perry, USA Gymnastics’ new president and CEO, came as a judge in Michigan prepares Friday to sentence former team doctor Larry Nassar, who has pleaded guilty to seven state counts of criminal sexual conduct and is expected to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

“It has been my intent to terminate this agreement since I began as president and CEO in December,” Perry said. “Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this. We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes.”

The Karolyis were – allegedly, at least; they deny it – among the many enablers of Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics is deeply complicit in Nassar’s crimes. Kerry Perry should tear it all down and start from scratch, with a genuine commitment to put the athletes first and to put a much better system of oversight in place. The whole thing is sickening – Nassar had more known victims than Jerry Sandusky, in case you’re wondering – and I strongly suspect there are more sins to uncover. Get it all out into the open and make sure all those who were part of the problem get their comeuppance.

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4 Comments

  1. Agreed. Sexual Assault should not be part of Gymnastic Training. Get rid of it.

  2. Flypusher says:

    So were the Karolyis like Joe Paterno, who decided after finding out sexual abuse of children was going on, decided to keep mum because he didn’t want any damage to his reputation via secondhand guilt by association, even if it meant the crimes continued? As the words of wisdom go, you pay now or you pay later. Paterno’s rep could have recovered in the long run had he quashed it and come clean immediately. It’s too damn bad in both cases, because there was such athletic excellence in both programs. But no excuses for allowing sexual abuse of children. Silence is complicity, and there are consequences.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly.

    In the JoePa incident, there were allegations that Joe was told about abuse going on. I haven’t seen any reports of something similar here. All those girls? Their families? No reports of ANY of them telling either of the Karolyis anything.

    If they knew about any of this, yes, I’m happy to see them burned and shamed, but if they are truly innocent, then they are now victims, too. Did the Karolyis have anything to do with Nassar being hired in the first place? There are lots of questions I have about this before I make a judgement.

  4. Flypusher says:

    There’s a reason my opening sentence was a question. I have no doubt that somebody knew. You don’t have that many victims for that long within someone doing CYA, whether it be the Karolyis or someone else. Starting it from scratch at a new place is the safest call.