Geza Pozar confirms Karolyi abuse

The Gymblog broke a very important story to the blogosphere.

For decades we’ve heard rumours of physical abuse in the gyms of Bela and Marta Karolyi.

Even in the USA.

But this is new. Geza Pozar is the choreographer who worked with them for 30yrs. If anyone knows where the bodies are buried, it’s Geza.

… Trudi Kollar, known to the world as Emelia Eberle, was a 12-year-old when she was summoned to join Romania’s national team in 1976. She earned 13 individual medals in international competition, including an Olympic silver medal.

In Romania, Kollar trained under legendary coach Karolyi and wife Martha for six years. She lived full time at the Karolyis’ gymnastic center in a small town in Transylvania — isolated, bars on the windows, very little food and terrified.

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“In one word, I can say it was brutal,” she said.

Kollar said mistakes in training or competition brought physical pain — frequent beatings from Bela Karolyi.

Pozar said Kollar’s story is absolutely true.

“I saw all the activities that went on. Of course I saw the beating and the abuse, you know, as Trudi told you,” Pozar said.

Pozar said Bela Karolyi was large and powerful, and that Kollar was a frequent target.

“Trudi was the most abused, I mean physically. And when he hit her on the back, you can see that big hand, you know, landing on her back. That is something you would never forget,” Pozar said.

Pozar is now a gymnastics coach and runs his own gymnasium in Sacramento, where Kollar has worked for 15 years. He’s hadn’t previous spoken out about the Karolyis. …

Olympic Gymnast Claims Karolyi Beat Her – Stories Of Abuse Supported By Eyewitnesses – KCRA Sacramento

Bela must respond to these charges. He’s first to point his finger at others.

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larger original – Geza Pozar – Olympic Gymnastics Academy

15 comments ↓

#1 vanessa on 11.19.08 at 11:03 am

If this is true, Bela does not deserve–and neither does Marta–to be in charge of the training program. Abuse, whether past or present, should never be tolerated.

#2 shergymrag on 11.19.08 at 12:52 pm

So what was Geza doing when Bela was beating those kids?

#3 coach Rick on 11.19.08 at 1:47 pm

It’s not really fair to compare our ethical standards of today against what happened 30yrs ago.

In my elementary school kids “got the strap” regularly. Corporal punishment was the norm.

But we don’t throw those teachers in prison in 2008 for what they did in 1968.

STILL … I assume Geza stood back and did nothing.

#4 vanessa on 11.19.08 at 2:38 pm

Rick, I’m not convinced of that. Yes, we had different ethical standards 30 years ago. It doesn’t mean that abusing kids was OK. I dont think Bela should be thrown in jail: I also dont think he and his wife should be allowed the prestige of running the program. What kind of message does that send?
BTW, love the blog. I dont comment much but I am a frequent reader!

#5 TP on 11.19.08 at 2:44 pm

Sheesh someone has a bone with Bela.
Not my favorite coach but to throw someone in jail for something they did in another country, in a different government, about thirty or so years ago, is silly.

And how is Geza any less guilty if he allowed it or didn’t stand up to Bela? Perhaps at the time he thought it was ok, too.

I am curious to see how Bela responds to this. That will do more to/for his integrity than just throwing him in jail.

#6 coach Rick on 11.19.08 at 3:57 pm

Right. No one believes my elementary school principle, or Bela Karoli should be sent to jail.

Certainly he should answer the charges. And not ignore them as he has done for decades.

Now, should Marta lose the job over this ??

I think not.

A sincere and public apology for real and perceived mistreatment of their athletes in the past would be the best case scenario.

#7 vanessa on 11.19.08 at 5:08 pm

I agree that a public apology would be ideal. But I guess I am pretty damn uncomfortable allowing someone who abused kids to be left in charge.

#8 becca on 11.20.08 at 9:25 am

Coach Rick from what I understand though it was extremely bad.. And if the choregrapher didn’t speak out it was partly because Karoyli had actual ties to the government at the time.

The Romanian girls have said that when they would try to escape “yes escape” the police would bring them back.

And there’s a difference between slapping a student and beating them. Goreac has said that he slapped his kids, but he never beat them. IF you can’t see the difference…

#9 becca on 11.20.08 at 9:25 am

Coach Rick from what I understand though it was extremely bad.. And if the choregrapher didn’t speak out it was partly because Karoyli had actual ties to the government at the time.

The Romanian girls have said that when they would try to escape “yes escape” the police would bring them back.

And there’s a difference between slapping a student and beating them. Goreac has said that he slapped his kids, but he never beat them. IF you can’t see the difference…

#10 becca on 11.20.08 at 9:26 am

I mean in my school there was spankings too… But nobody was ever kicked or hit on the back…

#11 shergymrag on 11.20.08 at 10:07 am

I thought Geza continued to work with Bela after they were both in the US though.

#12 coach Rick on 11.20.08 at 10:29 am

Corporal punishment at school, becca, is slightly less heinous than slapping or kicking children at gymnastics, I agree.

But not much.

I assume Romania 30ys ago was something like China today. We’ve seen kicking and slapping in Chinese gyms in the past few years.

Bela has not coached kids himself for quite a while. And the rumours I’ve always heard were about him, not Marta.

Should she be removed as National Team Coordinator over this?

Probably not.

#13 TCO on 11.20.08 at 6:48 pm

Maybe it helped her compete better.

#14 AM on 11.21.08 at 1:12 pm

It’s been my experience that the abusive whack jobs of 30 years ago are still whack jobs. While Karolyi may have lightened up on the physical abuse, the mental and verbal abuse is beyond apparent. There was a rumor that the police were called to the ranch this summer during the olympic selection process. Has anyone heard of this?

#15 PS on 05.27.13 at 10:05 am

So as a parent what should we do or who should we notify if we suspect mental & verbal abuse. Or have see it. Especially since the owner of the gym won’t do anything even when girl after girl quit because they no longer like gymnastics or just can’t handle the abuse.

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