You cannot argue with Marta Karolyi’s record. Or can you? Back to back Olympic Champs. First ever Gold World team Championship are just some of the amazing achievements the US gymnasts have won under the tutelage of Marta but is the US winning these medals in spite of her or because of her? Or are these medals being won because the rest of the world has faded?
IMO Marta gets too much credit for gymnasts already in place. She has yet to develop a gymnast into a World Champion and the only gymnast I would give her credit for is Sam Sheehan winning a bronze medal on floor in 02. Also maybe Annia Hatch who would not have made any Olympic team if it wasn’t for Marta’s doing.
Should Marta get credit for developing the Carly Patterson’s and Shawn Johnson’s of the world or where they already in place before she got there?
Please excuse some of my opinions and the way they are added to the article. (especially the part on the Olympic team in 04) that is a hodge podge of opinions I didn’t have time to put in proper place. It’s late and I want to get this out:)
The talent was already around in the year Marta was hired. Carly Patterson, Terin Humphrey, Hollie Vise, Sam Sheehan, Courtney Kupets, Ashley Postell and Chellsie Memmel all competed at the 2001 Junior National Championships. Tasha Schwikert, Tabitha Yim, Mohini Bhardwaj, Katie Heenan and Rachel Tidd competed Senior that year. These gymnasts will make up your World and Olympic teams for the next quad.
In 01 Tasha Schwikert finished 5th AA (Tabitha Yim finished 7th) and the team won a bronze medal. The 4th place team was Spain. Tasha was less then a tenth off a bronze medal in the AA and Katie Heenan won a bronze medal on bars being one of only 3 gymnasts to stay on the event. It was a great stepping stone for the US team from the quad before but hardly Marta’s doing. At this time some note worthy gymnasts were still competing including World AA Champion Svetlana Khorkina, Oksana Chusovitina and soon to be Olympic AA gold medalist Andreea Raducan.
In 02 the US (womens)team came home with 3 medals including Golds for Ashley Postell and Courtney Kupets on beam and bars and a bronze medal for Sam Sheehan on floor. Sam actually led the semi’s on floor but stepped out of bounds in the finals. Svetlana Khorkina fell in the UB finals which was the only reason Kupets won the event (and IMO she should not have anyway) Beth Tweddle was underscored per usual of World events save the year she rightfully won. I am not sure if Marta should get much credit for these wins being how weak the competition still was at this point.
In 03 the US team won it’s first ever team World Gold medal in spite of Marta not because of her. The team that competed was not the team Marta chose. After injuries to Kupets, Hatch and others alternates Chellsie Memmel stole the show and led the US team to the surprise Gold medal. The reason I give Marta little credit for this win was because of Chellsie Memmel. Memmel was one of the top gymnasts at camp before the team was chosen but Marta kept her off the team only adding her on after the injuries piled up. If Marta had had her way Chellsie never would have been on the team.
Hollie Vise made the team in spite of Marta after finishing tied for second at Nationals. The rule stated that the top 2 finishers at Nationals were guaranteed a spot on the World team. Marta was not to happy having to add Hollie Vise to the team and changed the rule immediately after. Hollie had some trouble at the 03 worlds but after falling off bars she came back and nailed a beam set that helped the US team win.
Russia imploded in team finals counting a ridiculous low 7.575 on floor and a 8.137 on beam. Australia finished third after the Chinese team was downgraded some points for training on the podium during a meet.
Carly Patterson won a silver in the AA and Chellsie and Hollie tied for Gold on the UB.
I don’t give Marta credit for any of these medals either when you consider she only had both girls on the team due to luck and rules she later changed more then her eye for talent. Carly Patterson would have succeeded on her own IMO.
The 2004 Olympics: The US was the reigning World Champions and were expected to win Gold at the Olympics in 04. Thanks to Marta’s lack of floor workers the US fell to silver in the team event. This was based mostly on the fact that Marta insisted on having two gymnasts for vault ignoring the floor event altogether. Not totally to blame for injuries to the floor workers in the end I don’t think having healthy floor workers would have mattered. Marta was taking Annia no matter what anyone thought and that was the death of the 04 Olympic team.
Annia Hatch: Annia was kept out of Nationals by Marta “due to injury” In layman terms that means Annia was held out Nationals because Marta couldn’t take the chance of her competing badly and still being named to the Olympic Trials or missing the Olympic trials altogether. Annia then finished 11th at the Olympic trials and was named to the team anyway at camp to compete just one event, vault. Annia was a decent tumbler on floor but her dance was a joke. Her UB and beam were atrocious. She had an amazing DTY that Marta thought would score really well at the Olympics but it didn’t (barely a half a tenth more then other DTY’s at the Olympics) There is no way in hell she should have been on this Olympic team under any circumstance. Her one event did us no help and because she was on this team we had no back ups when Courtney Mccool had a mental meltdown and we had to use Mohini on beam and floor in team finals.
Mohini Bhardwaj: Named to the team after getting high profile help from a second rate actress, first rate whore and IMO should have not been on the team either. Mohini went from barely making the Olympic trials ( only making it after Ashley Postell fell from the UB on her last event at Nationals)to making the Olympic team. Suddenly her sloppy form was not being deducted. Most people think Marta wouldn’t name a gymnast to the Olympic team for any reason but talent but some how Mohini’s luck turned exactly at that time. Mohini herself was whining about her scores pre Olympic trials.
At the Olympic’s Mohini performed above her capabilities but playing it safe at the Olympics is not the way to go. Her lower start values on beam and floor had to be used in team finals (thanks to the total mental melt down of Courtney Mccool) and in the end it cost the US big time. Mohini missed her dance combo AGAIN and got the lowest floor score for the US in team finals.
Carly Patterson: No complaints here. Carly deserved her spot on the Olympic team.
Courtney Kupets: No complaints again. She was injured during the meet but competed on floor anyway in team finals due to Marta not preparing enough floor workers. With McCool’s meltdown there was no other choice.
Courtney McCool: A beautiful gymnast that couldn’t hit her connections on beam to save her life. She had not been given credit for her connection on beam once during the year but some how Marta thought the Olympic judges would give her credit? Courtney was young and decided the year before the Olympics to stay a junior instead of becoming a senior so she never having any practice with pressure on the big world stage. In the end that did her in. Rumor has it Courtney was in tears for hours and messing up big time in practice after her meltdown in prelims at the Olympics which is why Marta did not use her in team finals. For this I cannot fault.
Terin Humphrey: Terin was someone back then I really wanted on the Olympic team. In order to appreciate her you have to see her live. I couldn’t stand her before I saw Worlds in 03 (IN Anaheim) but she grew on me after seeing that event. For some reason she did not compete floor in the team finals and for the life of me I don’t remember why. What I do remember is her hitting a beautiful DTY on day one of trials but missing it on day 2. Many people thought this might keep her off the Olympic team.
A lot of bad luck happened in 04 to gymnasts that could have been on the Olympic team but in the end I don’t think it would have mattered. I only give Marta partial blame for what went on here but I don’t give her credit either.
Who could have helped on floor?
Tasha Schwikert had a horrible Nationals (finishing 9th) but made up for it at the camp to decide the Olympic team. Marta instead of choosing her and her solid dance for the Olympic team chose to take Annia instead. Marta told Tasha after the camp that if she had performed the same way at Nationals that she performed at camp she would have been on the Olympic team. Isn’t that what the camp was supposed to be for? Maybe Tasha should have skipped Nationals like Annia and maybe she would have made the team.
Tia Orlando- Injured at trials
Tabitha Yim- Her floor drove me nuts but her dance connections were solid.
Chellsie Memmel- If not for bad luck no luck at all
So that leaves Marta .025 (Sam Sheehan) for 4 in the 01-04 quad. The successful gymnasts like Carly would have made their respective teams regardless of who the national team coach was.
So in conclusion:The team events could have improved without Marta or stayed the same. We will never know for sure what could have happened but me personally I think these gymnasts would have had success with or without Marta.
Onto part 2. The 05-08 quad…………..