When Dominique Moceanu spoke in 2008 about abuse she allegedly suffered under USA Gymnastics coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, her words fell on deaf ears. A decade later, former team doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual abuse of female athletes, and the program must be rebuilt.
“This happened over 30 years,” says Moceanu, part of the Magnificent Seven team that won Olympic gold in 1996. “It’s left a trail of damaged gymnasts.”
The Hinckley resident is changing that narrative by opening the Dominique Moceanu Gymnastics Center in Medina this month, a space offering both gymnastics and yoga. We asked Moceanu where her sport goes from here.
I dreamed of the Olympic journey since I was a little girl. It was a monumental moment in U.S. gymnastics history. We inspired a whole new generation.
On abusive training
Adults did not pay attention to a dysfunctional situation because we were winning medals. We were over-trained and miserable, and it didn’t have to be that way. When I spoke out, I was blacklisted for 10 years. No one else wanted to come out publicly about it.
On the future of gymnastics
I’ve been vocal about paying attention to the safety of children. Look at how many inappropriate people were at the top of our sport. It’s time to change the entire culture. It’s not going to be an overnight fix but it’s imperative that we do it.
On her new center
We’re going to provide a safe environment while promoting physical activity and enriching the lives of each individual. I want to teach children to believe in themselves.