Karolyis file suit against U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics
Bela and Martha Karolyi have filed suit against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, saying they should not be held responsible in any lawsuits connected to Larry Nassar’s abuse of young gymnasts at their famed training facility near Houston.
Seeking more than $1 million in damages, the husband-and-wife coaching duo claim the two organizations have attempted to “sacrifice the Karolyis (after leading them along for months) to shift blame off themselves.”
The suit, filed last month, was originally reported Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle.
As longtime national team coordinators, the Karolyis have insisted they did not know Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Olympic team doctor, was molesting athletes on their property during training camps.
They said it wasn’t until after the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro that they became aware of allegations against the disgraced doctor, who has since been sentenced to decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography.
With numerous athletes filing civil lawsuits in the matter, the Karolyis say they should not be required to indemnify the two USOC or USA Gymnastics against any potential damages.
They also state that USA Gymnastics has failed to reimburse them for legal expenses and that the national governing body is in breach of contract after pulling out of negotiations to purchase a 36.2-acre portion of the remote Karolyi Ranch.
The ranch no longer serves as a national training center and has been stigmatized by the Nassar scandal, the suit says.
The Karolyis have been major figures in American gymnastics since coming to the U.S. from Romania in the 1980s. They have coached a string of Olympic medalists including Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug and Dominique Moceanu.
Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.