Gold-medal gymnast Dominique Moceanu was once a self-described people pleaser, laser-focused on keeping her coaches, fans and parents happy. But she endured years of abusive coaching on her way to the top, and as an adult, she decided that speaking out about the problems in her sport was more important than securing everyone’s approval. “I always told myself if I had an opportunity to help others, then I would,” she said.
So when HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” asked her to tell her story in 2008, she accepted. In that interview and a subsequent book, “Off Balance,” she revealed abuse she had witnessed and gone through. Top coaches Martha and Bela Karolyi, she said, belittled young gymnasts, harangued them about their diets, and encouraged them to train while injured.
“I forced people in the community to recognize this long-standing problem that they preferred to keep under wraps. You’re basically holding a mirror to them, and they really don’t appreciate the reflection they see,” Moceanu said in an interview. Ever since, she has been an advocate for athletes’ rights, and last month, her claims were vindicated in a wide-ranging report by former federal prosecutor Deborah Daniels about abuse within USA Gymnastics.
Source: The Washington Post