“I see in myself and many of my fellow athletes how Gurgen and Sebestyen mentally destroyed us.” The Hungarian skater spoke out about the situation in Hungarian figure skating
Translation of the article about Hungarian figure skating. Update on the situation with the Federation, dismissal of Gurgen Vardanjan and disciplinary action towards Julia Sebestyen.
source: index.hu by Marton Szekely dd. May 4th 2023
Another development has emerged in the scandal surrounding Hungarian figure skating. Index has obtained a letter indicating that the Hungarian National Skating Federation has launched disciplinary proceedings against coach Julia Gor-Sebestyen after a group of parents alleged that the European champion emotionally and physically abused their children. One of the abused skaters, Mozes Jozsef Berei, reported on his personal experiences with the coach and the sports director.
“Dear addressees, on behalf of the MOKSZ Ethics and Discipline Committee, I hereby inform you that I have decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Julia Gor-Sebestyen today,” the letter, which was sent in response to the parents who had previously sought to initiate proceedings against Gor-Sebestyen before the MOKSZ ethics committee, begins. The letter also mentions that the minors involved will be heard in the case. Gor-Sebestyen’s husband is the Fidesz representative of Pasaret, Nyek and Kurucles municipalities.
Earlier, a parent who spoke anonymously to Index reported that their child was forced to take off their skates in minus two-degree and do penalty exercises on the ice while standing in socks. Parents allege that the European champion coach emotionally torments their children and is exclusionary towards certain competitors.
In their letter to the federation, the parents stated: “We do not dispute the coach’s professional sport skills within figure skating, but rather question her pedagogical and psychological readiness and suitability, as previously questioned by an expert opinion.”
It appears that something significant has happened at MOKSZ, as on Wednesday’s season review meeting, Dr. Gurgen Vardanjan, the sports director for figure skating, was terminated by mutual agreement. The dismissed sports director had served the Hungarian national team for naturalized Hungarian athletes. With the exception of Julia Lang only naturalized athletes participated in the recent figure skating world championships.
Another ominous sign for the federation led by Lajos Kosa is that earlier, after the Liu brothers switched nationality, the president of FTC and Fidesz party director, Gábor Kubatov, harshly criticized Kósa.
Index managed to catch up with 19-year-old Mozes Jozsef Berei in Berlin, who was one of the athletes who were pushed out of the national team due to the naturalized Russians. Berei previously competed for Austria before joining the Hungarian national team.
“Unfortunately, things can be destroyed very quickly and slowly repaired, but now I think we are on the right track. I see in myself and many of my fellow athletes how Gurgen and Sebestyen mentally destroyed us,” Berei said.
“I was lucky enough to train abroad, but the athletes who depend on MOKSZ at home don’t dare to speak out because everyone is intimidated. Gurgen Vardanjan could do anything he wanted to the athletes with just a snap of his fingers. I spoke to many of my peers, everyone is happy with this news, and everyone knew what the situation was like at the federation,” Berei shared his thoughts on the dismissal of the sports director and the disciplinary action taken against the coach.
The young skater said that he returned to Hungary with hope, but while preparing at home, he faced a lot of disappointment and abuse. He trained abroad again in the last year, but according to his statement, the hatred reached him there as well. He also thought about competing for Austria again, but with the dismissal of the sports director and disciplinary proceedings initiated against Sebestyen, he claims that another door has opened for him in Hungary.
“I wouldn’t have changed countries because I got naturalized rivals. But because of the psychological terror that Vardanjan held over me and my colleagues,” Berei said, and mentioned that there was a naturalized Russian with whom he had a particularly good relationship.
“I also wrote a letter to the MOKSZ ethics committee about my personal experiences. Sebestyen strongly intimidated some, and treated some others very harshly. She didn’t physically harm me, but she never listened to anyone, and she didn’t care about any request or grievance. She never protected us from Vardanjan either,” Berei replied when asked about his experiences with Sebestyen.
“With this decision, I feel that it is good to be Hungarian again, and I can be proud of it abroad. Because unfortunately, in the past years, no matter which country I competed in, everyone knew what the situation was in Hungarian figure skating. We were not popular abroad, whether it was because of Vardanjan or Sebestyen,” Berei concluded. He added that if anyone experiences anything similar in any sport, they should persevere, and athletes, coaches, and parents should come together and win together.
“We’re preparing programs to test them at possible competitions in the new season and receive feedback from specialists.” Romain Haguenauer abt Olivia Smart / Tim Dieck