I Wish I Were In Paris

From war to peace and politics to gossip, if we have an opinion on something we'll share it here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stop Giving Bela Karolyi An Outlet For His Hate-filled Rants

NBC and the United States need to stop giving Bela Karolyi an outlet for his hate-filled rants against the Chinese gymnasts and China.

Karolyi accuses Chinese of age-old problem

BEIJING – Perhaps the most famous case of an underage gymnast – the current Olympic age minimum is 16 – occurred back at the 1991 world championships.

North Korea entered a girl who, while certainly capable of spins and flips, looked painfully slight and terribly young. Still, the documentation checked out and no one was truly sure until she happened to flash a big smile which revealed … she was still losing her baby teeth.

Bela Karolyi, the Vince Lombardi of women’s gymnastics, tells that story just like he tells all of his stories about underage gymnasts – using mock humor to convey the disgust.

He’s been railing about underage girls in gymnastics for decades. Now he fears the United States women’s team is about to be victimized by them

The Americans must compete against Chinese girls who, while “officially” being old enough, sure look awfully young. Consider 4-foot-6, 68-pound Deng Linlin. Or Jiang Yuyuan, who checks in at a strapping 4-7 and 70 pounds.

“They are using half-people,” Karolyi told the Associated Press. “One of the biggest frustrations is, what arrogance. These people think we are stupid.

“We are in the business of gymnastics and we know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. You don’t have to be a gymnastics coach to know what they look like at 16.”

A number of U.S. media investigations have shown that Deng is one of three Chinese team members who previously had ages listed on various documents that would make them as young as 14 during this calendar year.

However, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) merely requires a government issued passport as proof of age. China produced one for each member of the team.

“All passports are valid for all gymnasts competing in the Beijing Olympic Games,” the FIG said in a statement. “Stringent control measures are taken at the time of athlete accreditation for all official FIG competitions. Further, all athlete ages for the Beijing Olympic Games are consistent with the FIG records for all past FIG competitions.”

In Sunday’s preliminaries, China took a lead over the U.S. in the team competition that concludes Wednesday morning in Beijing. Karolyi is convinced the Americans are being cheated. He wonders out loud if the Chinese packed diapers. He mocks passport accuracy since it is the Chinese government that issued it and says such forgery has been common around the globe for decades.

Besides, why not trust his lying eyes?

The Chinese look so young they may still watch “Dora the Explorer.” The team’s average height and weight on its listed roster is a mere 4-9 and 77 pounds.

By comparison, the smallest American gymnast is Shawn Johnson, a 16-year-old who checks in at 4-foot-9 and 90 pounds. The U.S. average is 5-foot and 107 pounds, which might qualify as obese by Chinese standards.

Maybe they are doping.

“What kind of slap in the face is this?” Karolyi asked. “They are 12, 14 years old, max. And they line them up for the world … and having the government back them?”

In China’s defense, there are other tiny gymnasts. Japan’s Koko Tsurumi is 4-7 and 75 pounds. Russia’s Ksenia Semenova is 4-6 and 77 pounds. Japan’s team average is just 4-10 and 82.5 pounds.

Younger and thus smaller gymnasts may have an advantage in a number of disciplines. Age limits were enacted by FIG for the safety of the athletes.

Karolyi is an NBC commentator and no longer has an official role with USA Gymnastics. However, his wife Marta is the team’s coach and the athletes train at their Texas ranch.

He’s been against age limits for years, preferring to let anyone of any age to compete. FIG says it has no plans to change its age limit, nor should it. Karolyi is wrong on this one; sending out little girls whose muscles and bones haven’t fully developed is not the proper answer.

Asking for more than a meager passport – which, since the government issues it, is obviously quite easy to control – is a long overdue change. Not that anything would completely eliminate cheating.

No one knows for sure whether the Chinese are simply tiny or eviscerating the rules and putting their athletes in harm’s way in pursuit of gold.

USA Gymnastics can’t do much at this point. Officially, it has no statement and reminds that Bela Karolyi doesn’t work for them. Marta Karolyi was pretty clear about what she thinks, though.

“We are ready to take on any team,” she deadpanned. “Overage or underage.”

Sniping is about all she can do. Unlike doping, there isn’t a test to determine someone’s age. It’s not like cutting into a redwood tree and counting the rings.

Maybe they can ask Deng Linlin to smile wide for the cameras.

Now that the China has beaten the US for gold in Women's Gymnastics, Bela Karolyi still isn't shutting up. Last night after the women lost, he was interviewed by Bob Costas. He said that the right decision was made on the floor last night. But, China didn't legally win the gold because the girls were underage.

This man needs to shut his mouth. He is in no position to be saying anything. I've never liked the guy because he has such a big mouth. What I found out makes my dislike of him extremely justified.

Check this out about Bela Karolyi.

Károlyi's career as a coach has been saddled by controversy.

While still in Romania, Károlyi came under fire from Romanian officials due to his score protests and conduct at several international meets, including the 1980 Olympics. His school in Oneşti was originally shunned in favor of Bucharest's Dinamo club; Károlyi had to battle the Romanian gymnastics federation to get Nadia Comaneci and his other athletes named to the 1975 European Championships and the 1976 Olympic team.

In America, Károlyi's training methods have been roundly criticized. Some of his former athletes, including Kristie Phillips and Erica Stokes, have stated publicly that Károlyi was verbally and psychologically abusive during workouts. Károlyi's constant critical remarks about weight and body type were said to drive some gymnasts to develop eating disorders and low self-esteem. Some gymnasts, such as Phillips and 1988 Olympian Chelle Stack, have noted that they were compelled to continue training and competing even when coping with serious injuries such as broken bones. In one interview, Dominique Moceanu, one of Károlyi's final proteges, noted: "I'm sure Bela saw injuries, but if you were injured, Bela didn't want to see it...You had to deal with it. I was intimidated. He looked down on me. He was 6-feet something, and I was 4-foot nothing."

Károlyi was also said to strictly monitor his gymnasts' food intake: Moceanu, for instance, stated that at meets away from home, gymnasts were limited to consuming as little as 900 calories a day. Even Károlyi supporters have admitted that at certain competitions, his gymnasts ate so sparingly that members of the men's gymnastics team smuggled food to them in their hotel rooms.

What's worse? Supposedly lying about somebody's age, or starving athletes, making them train and compete with injuries including broken bones, and being abusive?

There's a reason that this man (and I use that term loosely) has been banned from being on the floor at the Beijing Olympics. His wife should be banned too while we're at it!!

There is no proof that China lied about the ages of the gymnasts. NBC needs to stop giving him time on the television. Those with half a brain know damn well that nobody would be bitching if the US team hadn't fucked up last night and actually won the gold medal.


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  • At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You must be insane. So I imagine you think it was alright for Marion Jones to be all doped up, you probably think she should be able to keep her gold medals.

    Well there is no reason why
    China should receive a congratulations, yes those girls went out and did a great job of competing, I don't deny that. But the country of China cheated to get that gold medal. Technically there is no difference between lying about the ages of gymnasts or doping, it's all cheating.

  • At 6:20 AM, Blogger ParisL0ve2 said…

    I must be insane?

    Clearly you don't read, or don't know how to read!! If you read my blog at all, you would know that I have stated before that Marion Jones is a liar, a doper, and deserved to have her medals taken away. You might want to learn to read what I actually write before you shoot your mouth off!!

    As for China, you have no proof that they lied about the ages of their gymnasts. Wow, it must be true because Bela Karolyi says so. Wow it must be true because that's all the AMERICAN media is harping about.

    Unless you can prove for a fact that they are underage, you can't prove your accusation of cheating. You can't tell somebody's age just by looking at them. Hell, I'm 28 and people have said to me many times that they had no idea that I was 28. They all assume that I'm 18 at the most.

    You sound like the typical American. You think that Americans are entitled to EVERYTHING simply because they're Americans. You whine when Americans don't win. You throw around accusations of cheating when Americans don't win instead of stating the truth. You make excuses for not winning. You play the blame game.

    The truth is, the American girls got their asses handed to them. They thought that they were going to win and deserved to win because they won at Worlds. They thought that they were better than everyone else. They lost, not because the Chinese cheated, but because they made too many mistakes. One girl fell off the beam, and fell on her ass on the floor exercise. Two others stepped out of bounds on the floor exercise. That's their own damn fault!!

    Now Martha Karolyi wants to throw around accusations of intimidation by the Olympic officials because there was a delay in the start for the Americans on the beam. Give me a fucking break!! If your athletes can't handle the "pressure" of a fucking delay, go home!!

    The Americans LOST!! Have some class and stop acting like a typical sore loser American.

  • At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    why are you using wikipedia as a source... any idiot with a computer can get online and update wikipedia. it is biased media, and for you to use it as a "reliable source" makes your point of view assailable. you should be ashamed.

  • At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just stumbled upon here this evening and have read a few of your posts. I realize the type of person you are will always believe you are right so all I really have to add on here is that...I Wish You Were In Paris too.

    I'm sick of people like you always having something negative to say about "typical Americans" as you put it. If you hate all of us "typical American's" and you are so superior please...go to Paris.

  • At 10:38 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    A post you wrote a few back you made a comment to the effect of "robotic American thinking".

    As a college education woman who is pro choice, a single Mother and a career woman I don't feel that just because someone doesn't agree with my opinions makes them a "robotic American" That being said I find it so hard to understand the amount of hate that goes into those like you when you write.

    If you want to change opinions and change the America that you hate into something you love, doing it by writing in anger isn't the answer.

    No one wants to get into a debate on how America needs to change when you are out there calling most Americans essentially stupid idiots.

    Don't worry I don't expect to change your heart, but just as you feel the need to write your angry opinions to spark emotion and change, I leave a comment here...hoping to spark a positive thought.

  • At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Sly Eagle said…

    Where are you getting these quotes? Show me your sources, please.

    I watched the whole thing live on NBC, and while I know Karolyi has a thick accent, I haven't heard anything but praise for the Chinese gymnasts themselves ("they were beautiful," "they earned it," etc.) Disappointment in the Chinese government, maybe, but no hate rants.

    If anything, he's using this as an opportunity to harp against the 16 year age limit. He's been harping and ranting against it since it was enacted in 1997. He feels it's unfair to the athletes, which, face it, the average female gymnast peaks age 14-17. After that, increased body weight and bone density makes it harder on the body to perform the difficult elements. That's not a very wide window for you if you want to compete with the world's best.

    And, currently, it is cheating, if you're using your best gymnasts even though they're underage. Everyone else followed the rules and left their bright and shining 14 and 15 year olds at home. Nastia Liukin was good enough to compete in Athens, but she was 14, so she didn't. Some news reporters have found documentation for three of the Chinese gymnasts listing different birthdays than those on their passports. The Chinese government denies it, so that's that. Maybe they're underage, maybe not.

    But the age limit only goes to satisfy people outside the sport who consider "underage" competition to be child abuse. 14 and 15 year olds get to compete in the Olympics when they're swimming or diving...why not gymnastics?

  • At 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dude your full of hate aren't you!

    Mellow out.

    Now just because you say so, your RIGHT.

    Give us a break.

    People lie, China does it better than any other nation, HELLO. While holding a gun to shoot you.

    You don't think so, wake up and smell the coffee.

    China has been an enemy, that we have feed, and funded for a long time, and will be an nation we will go to War against, don't believe that, look in the past.

    And they don't lie, yeah right sure, dude.

    You have lied, and don't say you have not ever lied about something.

    Find some PEACE!
    Love fellow Americans or get OUT!

    Bela Karolyi is an American, He did it the right way.

    Did he sneak across a border?

    UH NO..........

    Just to clear this up, white lie is still a lie.

  • At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    who has class?!?!?!?! Who's whining!?!?!

  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger ParisL0ve2 said…

    You people are fucking hilarious!!

    Anon # 1, go do your research. It's not just on Wikipedia. Go ask these athletes if you don't believe what you read. Dominique Moceanu has said that the Karolyis should be removed from US Gymnastics for the shit that they pull.

    If you honestly don't think that they abuse these athletes, you're the one who should be ashamed. Look at Chelsea Memmel. She competed with a broken ankle, but she didn't tell anyone about it. Gee, I wonder why!! They would have told her to suck it up and compete anyways.

    Anon # 2, I wish I were in Paris too because then I wouldn't have to deal with people like you.

    Laura, change my heart? Get real!!

    Sly Eagle, what programs have you been watching? Bela Karolyi has been on NBC ranting and raving for days now. He sat there the other night after the Chinese won and said that the right decision was made on the floor but their win wasn't legal. That's PRAISE? Yeah right!!

    He calls the Chinese "half people". He hasn't praised these girls. He's cut them down every chance he's gotten. Clearly, you haven't been watching the same programming because if you were you would have heard him make these statements.

    Anon # 3, China's your enemy? Whatever!! I've lied? What have I lied about?

    And for your information, Bela Karolyi didn't become a US citizen like everyone else. If you go do your research you'll know the answer. He was set to be the US coach at the 1988 Olympics. However, he wasn't a US citizen so that was in jeopardy. The US Congress passed a special bill waiving the five year residency requirement for him, and made him a citizen. That's not exactly what I would call "doing it right like everyone else does".

    Anon # 4, not you!!

    This is MY BLOG!! The fact that you people think that somehow you can "shame" me into being a "good American" is a joke. This is America. I have a right to free speech. If you don't like what I have to say, don't read my blog.

  • At 8:06 AM, Anonymous naysayer47 said…

    ParisLove2> I can't agree with you more. I'm so feckin tired of Bela's tirade and accusations against the Chinese. Calling the Chinese athletes "half humans" is offensive and insulting. Imagine if Chinese announcers call our athletes "doping midgets." Everytime he comes on, I switch to CBS or ABC. He and his wife are a feckin joke!

    Listen, the IOC and FIG has checked out the documents from the Chinese delegations and it is approved.

    Instead of congratulating a job well done, all this couple can do is complain and make excuses.

    Of course, Bela has accused the Chinese of cheating without a shred of proof. And most Americans are buying it like it's fact. This reminds of what the Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, once said, "Say a lie often enough and people will believe it."

    What lemmings.

  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger ParisL0ve2 said…

    Naysayer, it is the typical American attitude.

    They talk trash about people from other countries. When Americans don't win, the other teams/countries must have cheated. They refuse to accept responsibility for why they lost.

    Let's say for a second that the Chinese team was underage. What does that say about the US team that they couldn't even beat children? I don't want to hear this crock of shit that children are more flexible and don't care about the "pressure". It's an excuse!!

    I would also like to point out that at least a few of the Chinese gymnasts competed at Worlds against the United States. If they're supposedly underage, then you have to include the officials from Worlds in this CONVOLUTED GRAND CONSPIRACY to screw the Americans out of the gold.

    It didn't happen. There was no conspiracy. They have the documents to prove their ages. If Americans can't handle it, too bad!!

  • At 2:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree! I hate the Karolyis. American's are sore losers!

  • At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Pat said…

    Underage gymnasts? Maybe not...
    Karolyi sucks? Maybe yes...


  • At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great post, thank you. I just signed up to your blog RSS.


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