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Dominique Moceanu Shades Coaches, Praises Team USA for Prioritizing ‘Well-Being Over Medals’

Dominique Moceanu Shades Coaches Praises Team USA for Prioritizing Well Being Over Medals
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Olympian Dominique Moceanu praised the gymnasts representing Team USA at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“As someone who was directly coached by Bela & Marta Karolyi, who began their coaching careers in the U.S. in 1981, I experienced the intensity & demands of their decades-long influence firsthand,” Moceanu, 42, wrote via X on Thursday, July 4.

Moceanu, like many Olympians, trained under coach Marta Karolyi, the former national team coordinator for USA Gymnastics, and her husband, Bela. Marta, 81, is particularly known for her ruthless training and strict rules when it comes to her athletes, as was outlined in a 2018 éxposé published by the Associated Press.

“Their methods led to successes on the competition floor but often at the cost of athletes’ mental & physical health,” Moceanu, who competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, claimed of her former coaches on Thursday. “As we transition from the Karolyi era to prioritizing well-being over medals, especially during this time of reflection on our country’s independence, we must proceed with care.”

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Along with her post, Moceanu included a photo of herself, Marta and Bela at the 1996 Olympics. In the snap, apparently taken after Moceanu had just competed, Marta placed her hand on Moceanu’s shoulder, while Bela, 81, affectionately touched her cheek.

“This shift is essential,” Moceanu continued. “While it is not an exact science, it is possible to support athletes’ health while nurturing their competitive spirit. We must exercise caution, constantly evaluating how to achieve the ideal balance. Let us seize this chance to create a balanced approach, where triumphs are measured by well-being as well as medals, embodying the true spirit of freedom & progress we celebrate on Independence Day.”

Dominique Moceanu Shades Coaches Praises Team USA for Prioritizing Well Being Over Medals
Dominique Moceanu, 1996 Olympic Games. Mike Powell/Getty Images

Moceanu’s comments come shortly after an upheaval in the gymnastics community following retired gymnast and Olympian MyKayla Skinner’s criticisms of the current Paris hopefuls representing Team USA at the Olympic Trials.

“Besides Simone [Biles], I feel like the talent and the depth just isn’t what it used to be,” Skinner, 27, said via a YouTube video in June. “I mean, obviously, a lot of girls don’t work as hard. The girls just don’t have the work ethic.”

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Skinner, who was previously coached by Marta, added that coaches now “can’t get on athletes which in some ways is really good but at the same time, to get to where you need to be in gymnastics you do have to be a little aggressive, a little intense.”

The current women’s Olympic gymnastics team includes Biles, Suni Lee, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles and Hezly Rivera.
Skinner later apologized for her comments. “It was more about going back into my own gym and the work ethic is different compared to when we were doing gymnastics in the Marta era,” she explained.

“I’m not sticking up for Marta or saying what she did was good,” Skinner said in July. “I’m just saying it was different. So sorry for anything that got out of context or seemed hurtful; I love those girls and I’m seriously so happy for them so I would never do anything to make them feel otherwise.”

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