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Immigrants Of The Week: Marta Karolyi, Bernard Lagat, and David Zhuang

by Greg Siskind


Most Americans know Marta's famous husband Bela, the great gymnastics coachand US national team coordinator who helped bring Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton to the gold medal podium. Bela's now retired from coaching national teams (though it has been fun watching him act as a commentator for NBC).

This year, it's Marta Károlyi's turn. The 66 year old Romanian is this year's American women's gymnastics national team coordinator and what a job she's done! Coach Karolyi has so far had her team members capture the all around women's gold and silver medals and a team bronze.

Marta partnered with her husband in building the Romanian national gymnastics program in the 1960s and 1970s turning the tiny country's gymnasts in to the world's best. The two defected to the US in 1981 and brought their magic to our country producing champion after champion.

Bela turned the reins of the US national team over to his wife in 2001 and she's reshaped the program (and also improved relations with the gymnasts and coaches who sometimes had difficulty dealing with Bela's stronghanded approach).

Congratulations on a glorious Olympics for Marta and we hope 2008 is one of your most memorable Games.