Posts Tagged ‘Emilia Eberle’

Revisiting Emilia Eberle’s gymnastics

November 21, 2008

She’s known for that awful floor routine — and now, for her accusations that Bela and Martha Karolyi physically abused her and others while she trained on the Romanian national team. What she isn’t so known for is her very clean work on beam and bars.

I wonder why not. Eberle’s work from the 1979 Chunichi Cup and 1980 Olympic Games is quite impressive. On beam she reminds me of a combination of Olga and Nadia, and her swing on bars and some of the neat moves is great. Her double pike off beam had to be one of the first performed. If she weren’t of the same era as Nadia, Nellie Kim and Natalia Shaposhnikova, perhaps she would have been better remembered.

Emilia Eberle, 1979 Chunichi Cup, Uneven Bars:

Emilia Eberle, 1979 Chunichi Cup, Beam:

The judges thought she was pretty good, too. Eberle won silver on bars at the 1980 Olympics.

By the 1980 Olympics, Eberle had mercifully been given a new floor routine. If the music sounds familiar, it’s because Mary Lou Retton used it in 1984.

Emilia Eberle, 1980 Olympics Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Bela Karolyi announces Romanian Senate run

November 20, 2008
Bela Karolyi has announced plans to run for the Romanian Senate.

Bela Karolyi has announced plans to run for the Romanian Senate.

Yesterday a Sacramento news affiliate published an article quoting former Karolyi pupil Emilia Eberle (now Trudi Kollar) saying she was abused at the hands of Bela and Martha Karolyi as a member of the Romanian national team during the 1970s and early ’80s.

Her story was confirmed by choreographer Geza Pozar, a close friend of the Karolyis who defected with them in 1981.

There’s hardly time for people to begin calling for the Karolyis to come clean, acknowledge Kollar’s statements (Bela has refused to comment, and Martha’s in Argentina at the Pan Pacific Games, according to reader Nik) before The Houston Chronicle reports that Bela has decided to run for the Romanian Senate.

Does this mean he’ll relocate back to Romania? Nope.

Karolyi, 66, said he will be on the ballot in Romania’s Nov. 30 election to become a member of national Senate as a representative of Romanian citizens living in the Americas, Australia and Africa.

Karolyi, who has Romanian and U.S. citizenship, said he was approached to enter the race by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, or DAHR. The group’s Web site describes the DAHR, a member of Romania’s current governing coalition, as a political alliance organized to represent the interests of ethnic Hungarians living in Romania.

“I got a call about a month ago from the government saying, ‘Bela, we salute you. We have an offer,’” Karolyi said. “I said, ‘What is the offer? Does it involve hunting?’ They said, ‘It is much more serious than that. We would like you to run for a position in the Romanian Senate.’”

Karolyi said he initially turned down the offer but accepted after he was encouraged to do so by DAHR members in Romania and by supporters living in the United States.

He’ll be a shoo-in. Nadia Comaneci was reportedly approached about running for Romanian Parliament in 2007 last summer but apparently has not followed up.

Related: Eberle says Karolyi beat her; Pozar confirms
USAG: No complaints about the Karolyis
Nadia the politician?

Eberle says Karolyi beat her; Pozar confirms

November 19, 2008

Emilia Eberle as a young competitor. Eberles given name is Gertrud, which reflects her Hungarian roots. The Romanian Federation decided she would compete under her middle name, Emilia.

Emilia Eberle as a young competitor. Eberle's given name is Gertrud, which reflects her Hungarian roots. The Romanian Federation decided she would compete under her middle name, Emilia.


Oh, dear.

In an interview with a local news affiliate, 1970s Romanian national team member Emilia Eberle says that Bela and Martha Karolyi physically abused their gymnasts, describing hitting, cutting, scratching and an overall feeling of terror that permeated the Deva gym.

“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.

“Nobody’s perfect, so obviously we did mistakes. And we, you know, just got smacked everywhere from Bela — on all our body parts. You know, he has huge hands and it hurts,” Kollar said. “I had blood coming out of my body. I had my ears — my skin ripped behind my ears. I had pus behind my ears, but, you know, nobody seemed to care.”

While awful, this is not exactly new information. Over the years, several Karolyi gymnasts have periodically accused the exuberant Romanian of abuse. What is new, however, is the source who confirms it: Geza Pozar, the choreographer who defected with the Karolyis in 1981 and continued to work with them. Eberle, who changed her name to Trudi Kollar, has worked in Pozar’s gym in Sacramento for the past 15 years, according to the article.

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.

Kollar, who is known primarily for having one of the ugliest floor routines ever choreographed (likely by Pozar, who was team choreographer; horrendous as it was, it tied for third with American Kathy Johnson’s stunning classical routine at the 1978 World Championships in Strasbourg, France) refused to discuss her training days in an earlier interview this summer.

Emilia Eberle, 1977 U.S. vs. Romania, Floor Exercise:

What bothers me about this story is that abuse like Eberle describes was probably not limited to Romanian gymnastics. Look at the ever-successful Soviets of the 80s, or the Chinese of today. How many of them are or were subjected to the same treatment?

Speaking of messed up, stuff is happening in Brazil that’s getting much-needed attention on Triple Full and at Gymnastics Coaching. Banned drugs, no less. Maybe that explains why Jade Barbosa looked so out of it in Beijing.