Some of my most favorite videos in our entire video museum are these short little clips like this one that feature multiple legends in sports….like legendary Jim McKay, the broadcaster at ABC’s Wide World of Sports….as well as legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi….who led multiple Romanian and American gymnasts to Olympic gold….so, I’ve decided to focus this post on the great Bela Karolyi
Béla Károlyi is of Hungarian decent and a former Romanian gymnastics coach….who early in his coaching career developed the Romanian centralized training system for gymnastics. One of his earliest protégés was Nadia Comăneci….who was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score. Living under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu….Károlyi frequently clashed with Romanian officials and the Károlyis subsequently defected to the United States in 1981.
Since their arrival in the United States, Béla and his wife Márta Károlyi have been credited with transforming the coaching of gymnastics in the US and bringing major international success. They have both been head coach of the United States women’s national gymnastics team….as well as national team coordinator for United States gymnastics at the Olympic Games.
Károlyi has coached many notable national, European, World and Olympic gymnasts, including Nadia Comăneci, Ecaterina Szabo, Mary Lou Retton, Betty Okino, Teodora Ungureanu, Kim Zmeskal, Kristie Phillips, Dominique Moceanu, Phoebe Mills, and Kerri Strug. In total, Károlyi has coached 9 Olympic champions….15 world champions….16 European medalists….and six U.S. national champions. Béla Károlyi was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997….as Béla and wife, Márta Károlyi….as a coaching team were inducted into the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Getting to have an inside look at the Karolyi traning facility in Romania is a true “nugget of gold” in our treasure chest of vintage memories here at ImaSportsphile….for this is a little piece of history that helped USA gymnastics to become a world power….so, ENJOY!!!