Bela in Chicago: Insight on Chinese age scandal, Marta, and Jordyn Wieber
Posted November 13, 2008on:
Bela Karolyi was in Chicago today to promote the American Cup, which will be held there in March 2009. There is a lot of good information coming out of these articles.
The Chinese age scandal
What, you thought it was going to go away?
Karolyi is still talking about the Chinese age scandal. He thinks the 2000 Olympics inquiry was perfunctory and is not convincing in the slightest:
“I think that’s just a cover-up. They’re trying to hold onto their reputation on this issue, when it’s one of the most blatant things we’ve ever seen.”
Karolyi says that he complained about the age question back in Sydney, saying that he pointed out that one of the girls (I assume Dong Fangxiao, but it could have been Yang Yun) had been a junior the year before and that it was impossible that she could have aged two years in one year. (He makes a good point.)
Interestingly, Karolyi was backed up by Steve Penny of USA Gymnastics more than usual. He said “Bela makes a good point when he says the Chinese kids went out there and did a good job. But there’s a rule that says you’ve got to be 16.”
My favorite part is where he added: “Here’s Rebecca Bross, two months short of being able to compete, sitting, crying in front of her TV, watching kids younger than her compete.” Really? Rebecca Bross was CRYING in front of her television?
It’s official: Marta’s staying
Bela confirms that Marta will be around at least through 2012. Interestingly, Penny says that the Karolyis (both of them) are “USA Gymnastics’ long-term plan.” Everyone loves the program (that Bela created, and that they hated at the time … no, I’m not bitter).
Bela then mentioned Kim Zmeskal as a possible successor!
Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Samantha Peszek continuing
Apparently Liukin was briefly at the trainign camp that just started, and told Bela she would continue competing.
Bela also said that while we lost all of our athletes after the 2004 cycle, at least Liukin, Johnson and Peszek will continue.
A little clue on Bela’s favorites?
When asked who the next big thing was, Bela answered Rebecca Bross and Jordyn Wieber. He called Wieber a “diamond” and compared her to Shawn Johnson (directly, and also by mentioning her ability to stay on the beam!).
And: one last (boring) article.