Not long after learning they won the gold medalist, the Fierce Five of the U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team were approached by team coordinator Martha Karolyi. The petite group of girls attacked the petite older woman with a hug. Her face was overcome with pride.
Why would she want to retire and not try for another moment like that?
With one statement to the Associated Press, Karolyi cleared up any rumors about her retirement.
Karolyi, the wife of retired coaching legend Bela Karolyi, is 70 and has been in the team coordinator role since 2000. Under her guidance, the U.S. grew from a strong team in women's gymnastics to a full-fledged power. The U.S. has 60 Olympic and world championship medals under her, including three team world championships, two Olympic all-around champions (Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson), and Tuesday's team Olympic gold.
She has been the target of criticism. 1996 gold medalist Dominique Moceanu once trained at the Karolyi Ranch and claims Karolyi has unchecked power in USA Gymnastics.
"She's the maker or breaker of people's Olympic dreams," Moceanu said. "She holds unchecked power. The governing body has handed it to them."
Other gymnasts have defended Karolyi and her methods, which includes bringing the team together to the Karolyi Ranch for training camps every few months. This allows her to check on each member of Team USA as they train in different gyms across the country.
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