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Olga Korbut - Where Is She Now?

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Having survived the Communist regime and Chernobyl radiation, Olga Korbut moved to the United States to begin a new life. All would not go smoothly, however. In January 2002, Korbut was arrested, charged with shoplifting $19 worth of food from a Publix supermarket in Norcross, Georgia. The gymnast's representative, Kay Weatherford, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was a misunderstanding. Korbut, she explained, had mistakenly walked out of the store with the items to retrieve her wallet, left in the car. A more serious charge came shortly after that incident, when it was revealed that authorities had found $30,000 in counterfeit $100 bills in the Korbut home during eviction proceedings. The home had been most recently occupied by the athlete's grown son. The investigation was continued by the Secret Service.

Korbut's denied any involvement with this federal offense. Still, her attorney Howard Weintraub told Beth Warren in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "it must be absolutely devastating to have millions of people the world over now look at you in a light differently … for something you didn't do." In a 1992 Sports Illustrated piece, Korbut revealed a philosophy that may have well served her during these hard times. "I try not to focus on annoying things in my past," she said. "It's like the Russian proverb says: 'If I always watch who steps on my feet, I wouldn't walk.'"

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