For nearly four decades, as athletes came and went, there was one constant presence in Olympic gymnastics: the Karolyis. They delivered the U.S. 46 Olympic medals during their 32-year reign. And in return for their success, they were granted unprecedented power.
There is no doubt Bela and Martha Karolyi brought women’s gymnastics in the United States to the top of the world stage, but they also played a part in enabling its greatest tragedy. In 2016, their accomplishments came under fire as the extent of U.S. national team doctor Larry Nassar’s predatory sexual abuse was exposed. This series peels back the layers of mythology that built up around the Karolyis and explores the cost of their achievements. It also marks the first time a lens has been trained exclusively on the Karolyis since the culture of silence they helped to create cracked wide open.
Heavy Medals is reported and hosted by ESPN senior writer Alyssa Roenigk, reported by ESPN senior writer Bonnie Ford and produced by 30 For 30 Podcasts' Andrew Mambo and Meradith Hoddinott.
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