“Marta Era Was Way Worse”: Years After Simone Biles’ Confession on Being Starved, MyKayla Skinner Opens Up on Her Elite Gymnastics Career

The flip side of an athlete’s glitzy career is more often than not, grim. They dedicate their lives to the sport expecting their hard work to come to fruition. However, miscellaneous facets influence the direction of their career. Olympics icon, Simone Biles, revealed in 2021, that she starved at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas, under coaches Marta and Bela Karolyi. The poor form of training left her with a traumatic experience. Similarly, former gymnastics ace, MyKayla Skinner, too, has had her share of ups and downs with coach Marta.

In the recent episode of her podcast on YouTube, Agree to Disagree, she revealed the impression the coach had on athletes. Skinner also talked about the harsh reality of competing in elite gymnastics. Here’s what she said.

MyKayla Skinner disclosed the behind-the-scenes of pro competing

According to the interview, the 26-year-old sensation bluntly stated that training under the Hungarian-American coach was a task. She illustrated a comparison from her high-school training days to the time when she got back from the Olympics. “Marta was gone, there’s a new Olympic coach, camps were weird. It was just so different,” she said.

Denoting her husband and host, Jonas Hammer’s experience with her athletic feats, Skinner claimed that he didn’t really witness the real struggles of elite gymnastics. Hence, the athlete added, “so like you really still didn’t get a like a full taste of it, but you did… Marta era was way worse.” She subtly asserted the grinds by the infamous 80-year-old gymnastics trainer.

Skinner’s life spiraled after the pandemic struck in 2019. She fell victim to Covid and eventually pneumonia. The Olympian also endured bone spurs later on. Skinner addressed her journey as bittersweet because she missed out on a major part of her college life. “Elite gymnastics is hard, and to have to do for a whole another year…and then go back to college, finish my senior year…I deferred in my freshman year to do 2016 Olympics and then it ended up being three years of deferment,” the 5’1” icon dishearteningly admitted. Shedding light on gymnastics legend Simone Biles’s experience with the Karolyis, she once called out the couple for their abusive antics.

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Simone Biles and other gymnasts called attention to Marta Karolyi’s abuse

As reported by sources, Biles, among other athletes, revealed the bleak scenarios in the Karolyi Ranch in 2018. “It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” she spoke on the issue.

via Reuters

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Individual All-Around – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 28, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States and Mykayla Skinner of the United States wearing protective face masks pose REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

However, the owners and couple, Bela and Marta, refuted the allegations and claimed to focus their efforts in good spirits for the gymnasts. The former gymnasts were dreaded by their coaches, yet most had no choice but to train there. 2010 U.S. National champion, Mattie Larson also elucidated the negative environment of the training center and stated, “there is no cell service. It’s completely isolated, and that’s no mistake. That is how the Karolyis wanted it.”

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Resultantly, in 2018, the popular training camp was shut down by the U.S. Gymnastics organization. Hence, athletes speaking up on such occurrences can help the upcoming athletes about the problems related to the sport, coach, or training arena.

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