[March 27] Martha & Bela Karolyi, Comaneci's coaches,
former Romanian Gymnastics coaches Martha and Bela
Karolyi, the Comaneci's coaches, were awarded on Monday
the "Trainer of Legend" Trophy during a festivity
in Bucharest. The ceremony was attended by renown sportsmen
and former disciples, including former gymnasts : Nadia
Grigoras, Georgeta Milea (from Montreal '76
team) and Luminita Milea, Marilena Vladarau.
Bela Karolyi were trainers of the Romanian women gymnastics
team between 1973 and 1981 when the Romanian gymnasts won
18 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals in two Olympiads,
two World and three European Championships.
are the trainers who made Romania a force of the world gymnastics,"
said Mariana Bitang, which dropped the long black dress
and show up in a (almost too) short green skirt.
Romanian Gymnastics Federation (RGF),
Romanian Olympic Comitee and National Sport Agency (headed
by Octavian Belu) also awarded trophies to Martha and
Karolyi (K&K). For those who know the decades-long
resentments between RGF and the KK's, this was a memorable
moment; maybe they did hidden slices of lemons in their mouths
during the meeting or something. It's both funny and tragic
how B&B still rule over all of them and make them do whatever
they want to do. Apart from that, the whole ceremony reminds
me of some History TV documentaries: Hitler awarding Stalin,
Fidel Castro awarding Brejnev, Ceausescu awarding Tito and
so on; don't know why these cruel dictators, which ruled by
fear, secret police and brute force, came into my mind?...
The Foundation Champions House was founded
last July by Romania's world-famous champions like Nadia
Comaneci, Ilie Nastase (tennis), Iolanda
Balas (high-jump), Ivan Patzaichin (flatwater canoer)
and Elisabeta Lipa (rower).
Comaneci was one of the first students of the Karolyi
couple who started to train her since she was three years
Comaneci later became the most well-known gymnast
in the world, winning five Olympic gold medals and being the
first awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic
Martha and Bela
Karolyi defected to the United States during a tournament
in 1981. Martha is currently a coordinator trainer of the
US women team and they both coach the US gymnastics team for
the Olympic Games in Beijing.
During their Bucharest visit, Martha and
Bela Karolyi slept in a (former dictator) Ceausescu's villa;
something which they couldn't even...dream about, when they
defected to United States.
Karolyi: "I was told to myself during the
night: if he [Ceausescu]
would know who is sleeping in his bed, he would turn around
into his grave; I wasn't one of his favorite".
We would rather think that Ceausescu
could be happy about his success in developing a gymnastics
program in Romania. He could be angry also because he wasn't
awarded any Trophy... since the former dictator was the one
who ordered to Romanian sport officials, in the early 70's,
to start a highly intense (and abusive) Romanian gymnastics
Program, Soviet-inspired. Dictator's wife Elena Ceausescu
was a gymnastics fan (according to spy defector Pacepa) and
she had supported his husband to build gymnastics clubs and
National gym camps around Romania.
"I was looking at recent World
Cup events, in Paris and Cottbus. The coaches from these days
have a frozen fish -faces during the exercises of their girls"
says, in his well known colorful language, Bela
Karolyi . "Where is the fun from those
Old Good Days?" asked Karolyi.
must be kidding or something. During KK's "Good Old Days",
the girls were so severely beaten that RGF was forced to move
the whole program from Onesti to Deva, after local political
and administrative leaders in Onesti don't want to have him
around any more because of many complains from parents and
way too many abuses against children.
During Karolyi's "good days"
agents of Ceausescu's secret police were send to look for
Comaneci and bring her back, after she managed to
escape somehow from the "Terror camp"...
That's sooo far from "having fun" doing gymnastics,
isn't so? And if he looks nearby, maybe to Belu's not-so-funny
(or even friendly to his athletes) face, then a meeting with
Dracula would not be so scaring, except that Dracula was not
clever enough to award some Trophies for his image.
Karolyi also said that he use to call Mariana Bitang
"The Witch". You can't argue with the Man, he had
such a good eye to spot Nadia among thousands of children;
he was so deep to spot, 20 years ago, what others have learned
only from Marinescu's
book or Petrovschi's
Looking at the Trophies, we at romanian-gymnastics.com
still argue on something, we want to know
yours opinions: that Trophy (see photos) is:
a) an abusive coach pictured with a stick, ready to beat (again!)
a girl, a Romanian Gymnastics Dark Age (KK-B&B age) Memorabilia,
or the Trophy is
b) a girl which just took over the stick and is ready to break
it and be free?...We can't decide on that, yet :-).
The good thing is that, 30 years later, Nadia
is not shaking any more nearby KK's. Hopefully the new generations
of Romanian gymnasts will be able to do this (be nearby their
coaches and not shaking of fear) sooner?...
[March 25] Cactus
Award for Bela Karolyi and wife Martha Karolyi
12] Romanian gymnastics
The Wall of Shame
Romanian Gymnastics News Archive.