Allegations of Abuse Levied by Laszlo Cseh, Others at Hungarian Coach Gyorgy Turi

swimmer - coach
Photo Courtesy: Ryan Casey

Allegations of Abuse Levied by Laszlo Cseh, Others at Hungarian Coach Gyorgy Turi

Hungarian swimming is dealing with a crisis after Laszlo Cseh, the five-time Olympian, leveled charges of an abusive training environment at former coach Gyorgy Turi.

Cseh’s revelations led others to come forward, and Turi, known on deck as “the Tsar,” has acknowledged some of the criticism, though he’s denied any abuse or sexual wrongdoing.

The first reports stemmed from an interview Cseh did with 24.Hu Sport in late October. The five-time Olympian and six-time medalist retired after the Tokyo Games. He’ll turn 36 in December.

The interview touched on his work with Turi, who had coached him until 2015 at Kobanya SC. He called Turi’s methods, “not the most modern,” emphasizing the way in which Turi thought the most effective way to train was to break athletes down mentally and physically.

Cseh, as translated by Hungary Today, said that, “not a single training session went by without someone crying. Then came the yelling, the punishments. Being hit with a stick while tying a rubber band for a training exercise. … But worse than that was the mental and psychological terror.”

Part of the impetus for the switch was Cseh training in the U.S. in late 2014 and seeing that there was a different way to do things, “a bolt of lightning” moment that he needed to switch. (When asked, for instance, if anything would’ve changed had he been born in America instead of Hungary, Cseh replied that he would’ve still been a swimmer but would’ve been, “less mentally injured.”)

Others have since come forward. Dominik Kozma, who swam in three Olympics and trained at Kobanya until 2014, said he saw Turi pull kids out of the pool by their hair.

“Unfortunately, in most places they don’t raise swimmers as soldiers,” Kozma told Blikk. He expressed concern over the “thousands of children” that Turi has worked with and the costs of his methods on those that didn’t have the success of pupils like Cseh, Krisztina Egerszegi or the 14 other Olympians attributed to Turi. Noemi Kiss, who trained with Egerszegi, also attested to Turi’s abusive practices, while several female swimmers detailed a culture of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances.

Turi spoke to 24.Hu Sport last week in his defense. He did admit some harsh tendencies in his approach, but he emphasized that he parted ways with many swimmers on good terms and denied any sexual allegations. (Turi was also an assistant for long-time national team coach Laszlo Kiss, who resigned in 2016 after a rape conviction in the 1960s was revealed.)

According to Hungary Today, the Hungarian Swimming Federation (MUSZ) has set up a five-person committee to investigation the allegations. In the interim, Turi has been suspended from his roles as the MUSZ’s vice chair and the president of its coaches’ committee. MUSZ officials have stressed that they have implemented measures against child and athletes abuse previous to these allegations. Turi’s place with Kobanya SC is also reportedly under review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.