Karolyis say gymnastics abuse scandal was like 'bomb exploding'

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With AP Photos.Former USA Gymnastics women's national team coordinator Martha Karolyi and her husband Bela tell NBC they were unaware of the abusive behavior by a former national team doctor now serving decades in prison.

Larry Nassar received a kinesiology degree from the University of MI in 1985 and immediately began volunteering as an athletic trainer for the Olympic women's gymnastics team.

There have been several more of Nassar's victims, of which there are more than 260, who have alleged that he used grooming techniques to manipulate them into thinking that he was their friend as well. They have been named in lawsuits.

McKayla Maroney, now 22, won gold and silver at the 2012 Olympics as part of the USA Gymnastics team known as the "Fierce Five".

"To my teenage self, [Nassar] appeared to be the "good guy" in an environment that was intense and restricting", Wieber said. "I don't want to tell anybody about this".

Years later, after a woman publicly accused Nassar of abuse in a story in the Indianapolis Star in September 2016, Wieber, like dozens of girls and women across the country, realized Nassar had been sexually assaulting her.

In separate cases, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years and 40 to 125 years in prison in January and February, respectively, on multiple counts of sexual abuse against girls and young women. Like numerous more than 250 girls and women who have accused Nassar of abuse, Wieber alleged the assaults occurred when she thought she was receiving legitimate medical treatment, including for a torn hamstring she sustained when she was 14.


Neither Michigan State University nor USA Gymnastics immediately responded to HuffPost's requests for comment on Maroney's remarks.

In January, USA Gymnastics said it was cutting all ties with the Karolyi ranch, several returning gymnasts saying it would be hard to train there again after the revelations of Nassar's molestations. "Larry Nassar is a good guy'".

A series of criminal and civil investigations have been launched into the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State after numerous accusers said their complaints about Nassar were ignored for years. By 2014, he felt comfortable enough to abuse his patients without any prior explanation when performing the "treatment", according to the report. I knew it felt unusual, but he was the national team doctor. Jeffrey Kovan and Douglas Dietzel, former heads of the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic; Dr. Gary Stollak, a retired MSU clinical psychologist; Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, a MSU athletic trainer, and Kathie Klages, former MSU gymnastics coach.

"The whole gymnastics community couldn't recognize this", Martha Karolyi said in an excerpt provided to The Associated Press on Friday by NBC.

Maroney also said that the sexual abuses at the hands of the doctor continued every time she had to see him.

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

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