Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Gymnastics » Bela Karolyi Biography - Early Life In Romania, Recognition In Competition, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Olympians, Dissatisfaction - SELECTED WRITINGS BY KAROLYI:

Bela Karolyi - Early Life In Romania

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Karolyi was born on September 13, 1942, in Cluj, Romania. His father, Nandor, was a civil engineer. Iren, his mother was an accountant and homemaker. Karolyi was the youngest of two siblings; his sister, Maria, became a civil engineer like her father, while Karolyi turned to athletic

Bela Karolyi

pursuits. As a teen he set national records in the hammer throw, learned to box, and was competitive in track and field. After winning the National Boxing Championship, he quit his day job at a local slaughterhouse and in 1959 enrolled at Cluj Technical College. There he played rugby and competed on the school's world championship handball squad. Also in college he became friends with a classmate, Marta Eross, whom he eventually married. Eross would figure prominently in Karolyi's future career as a gymnastics coach.

As a young man Karolyi was large and muscular, weighing 286 pounds in college. While earning his degree in physical education he confronted one of his biggest challenges: attempting to pass a gymnastics proficiency test, which was a requirement for the curriculum. For two years he persisted, determined to earn a spot on the school's gymnastics team. Although he succeeded in his junior year, soon afterward he broke his arm, thus ending his career in competition. After that he turned his sights to coaching.

Karolyi graduated second in his class in 1963; Eross graduated first. Karolyi then served a mandatory three-month tour in the Romanian national army. They were married on November 28, 1963, and went to live in the Vulcan mining region of Romania where Karolyi's own grandfather had once made a home and had served the townspeople as a community impresario. It was Karolyi's desire to serve the community too—by providing physical fitness training to area youth.

Karolyi at first offered youth programs in soccer, and in track and field. His methods generated controversy almost immediately because he encouraged the young athletes to dress in loose, comfortable clothing like t-shirts and shorts. While he patiently overcame the objections of conservative parents, the young boys began to wear appropriate attire, and eventually the girls were wearing more comfortable outfits too.

Bela Karolyi - Recognition In Competition [next]

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about 8 years ago

Cluj is a secular Romanian city. In history, most of the time it came under Ottoman rule. It was also under Austro-hungarina law in the imperial times. After WW 1, when the imperial system was abolished, Transylvania joined Romania (1918). So, Bela was born in Romania, and has hungarian backgrouds.

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over 10 years ago

Your biography of Béla Károlyi totally ignores the fact that he is an ethnic Hungarian, born in the minority-Hungarian population in Rumania, in an area that until 1918 was part of Hungary and by the Treaty of Trianon Hungary was forced to cede to Rumania. Why do you ignore his Hungarian ethnicity?

Rev. Dr. Theodore S. Horvath

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about 10 years ago

At the time Bela was born, that part of Transylvania was already part of Romania. So, he's Romanian citizen, but his nataionality is Hungarian.

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over 10 years ago

The website is very intereting to me.

My maiden name was Karolyi, also spelled

as Karoly. My father Frank Karolyi was Hungarian, born February 15, 1909 in

Sombor, Austria-Hungary but after World war I became Yougoslovia. He had 2 brothers, Steve Karolyi born in 1910 and

James Karolyi born in 1911. thri parents,

Stephen and Katrina Karolyi came to the

U.S. in 1914. World War I broke out and

their sons finally got here in 1920. Please check with Bela Karolyi about this history to see if he has or had family from the above areas. I would appreciate a reply As soon as possible. I have thought about contacting Mr. Karolyithrought the years and the computer has made this possible. Thank You.


Rose Mary Karolyi Roy

Rose Mary Karolyi Roy