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Coach Martha Karolyi again denies knowing of Larry Nassar's abuse

Famed gymnastic coach Bela Karolyi described the Larry Nassar scandal as "a bomb exploding" in the gymnastics world, ...

Posted: Apr 20, 2018 1:21 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2018 1:21 PM

Famed gymnastic coach Bela Karolyi described the Larry Nassar scandal as "a bomb exploding" in the gymnastics world, according to taped comments that aired Friday morning and mark the first public reaction from the coach and his wife on the topic since the disgraced doctor's downfall changed the sport forever.

"The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding: Boom," Karolyi told NBC's Savannah Guthrie in the interview for "Dateline," set to air in its entirety Sunday night. Excerpts aired Friday on NBC's "Today" show.

For decades, Bela and Martha Karolyi have run the prominent Karolyi Ranch, a training camp tucked away in southeast Texas that bred gymnastics champions -- along with a fear of then-team doctor Nassar, who some victims say molested them at the ranch.

After a series of high-profile trials and victim testimonies, Nassar was sentenced in recent months to decades behind bars for sexually abusing girls under the guise of medical treatment.

Asked how she feels about claims by some of gymnastics' biggest stars say they were violated on the Karolyi Ranch, Martha Karolyi, who is also a coach, told Guthrie: "That's awful. But I would say, even if they had big names or they have no names, any child who was violated by Nassar, it's a crime and it's so sad."

USA Gymnastics cut ties with the Karolyi Ranch in January after several gymnasts -- including four-time gold medalist Simone Biles -- said Nassar abused her at the ranch.

Guthrie pressed the Karolyis on how it was possible that they weren't aware of the abuse taking place at their facility.

"If you couldn't suspect anything -- I heard during the testimonies that some of the parents were in therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this and parent couldn't see -- how could I see?" Martha Karolyi said.

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