Bela and Martha Karolyi, the former coordinators and coaches of the United States girls's gymnastics team, claimed that they weren't aware of the prevalent sexual abuse of gymnasts by Lawrence G. Nassar, " the former team doctor.
The Karolyi Ranch served as USA Gymnastics' national team training center since 2001, and was the home for many elite American gymnasts including Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols and Simone Biles. She tells Savannah Guthrie in "no way" did she suspect Larry Nassar was sexually abusing athletes.
Marta Karolyi took over as U.S. national team coordinator in 2001 after serving as national team coach under Bela.
The whole gymnastics community couldnt recognize this, Martha Karolyi said in an excerpt provided to The Associated Press on Friday by NBC. "Larry Nassar is a good guy'".
Guthrie sat down for an in-depth interview with the Karolyis for a special edition of Dateline titled "Silent No More" that runs Sunday evening.
The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding, Bela Karolyi said. "Everything you're doing, she's watching".
The Georgia lawsuit revealed that USA Gymnastics had an internal policy of not forwarding allegations of child sex abuse to authorities unless they were submitted in writing and signed by a victim or a victim's parent. "I'm not in their heads", Larson told the AP.
"The complete detachment from the outside world, on top of careless and neglectful adults, made the ranch the ideal environment for abusers and molesters to thrive", Larson said. Several victims, including McKayla Maroney, say they were abused at the Karolyis' Ranch near Houston.
Thirteen former USA gymnasts and three coaches interviewed by The Associated Press described a win-at-all-costs culture rife with verbal and emotional abuse in which girls were forced to train on broken bones and other injuries.
Guthrie spent hours with the Karolyis at the ranch after the couple agreed to speak publicly for the first time since Martha's retirement following the 2016 Olympics.
The "Today" co-anchor says the ability to tell an in-depth story played a big role in getting people to talk for the special. "How I could see?"
Savannah Guthrie says she hates to miss a broadcast of NBC's "Today", but recently chose to make an exception.
They answered every question, Guthrie said. "At no time did their lawyer jump in and say 'You can't answer that'".
Nassar spent almost three decades at USA Gymnastics before being fired in 2015 after complaints about his behaviour. He continued to work at Michigan State University through the fall of 2016 before being hit with federal charges.
Some parents did testify during Nassar's sentencing hearings that they were in the room while the now-disgraced doctor abused their child.