Posted on 2023-04-27 • 1 comment
Translation of the article about tense situation in Hungarian figure skating, police were called to the ice rink.
source: telex.hu dd 26 April 2023 by Aghassi Attila
On Wednesday morning, around 7am, one of the coaches of Jégördög SE called the police at Vasas Káposztásmegyeri Ice Rink after they saw strange and frightening figures around the ice rink. According to eyewitnesses, there were three or four of them and the children were frightened, with one of them even crying. On Monday afternoon, there were already some inappropriate individuals present, according to Jégördög SE head coach Rita Galambos, who notified the federation of the visitors at that time. Galambos did not meet with them on Monday, but did on Wednesday morning when she arrived for practice. She approached them and asked if they were looking for her. Later, she reported the incident to the Újpest Police Station for intimidation. Only one of the men was a parent who was watching his daughter, the others were not.
The immediate antecedent to this was that the Hungarian National Skating Federation summoned Galambos for a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday afternoon. They wanted to hear from her because the federation received a report that a verbal altercation had occurred between her and some parents.
“I’m very happy that they want to investigate everything, but I find it very strange that they start with me and not with those who complained months ago about Sebestyen Julia,” Galambos said, referring to the fact that in March, several parents sent letters to the federation about Sebestyen Julia’s pedagogical methods, suspecting child abuse. “In these cases, the children complained of physical abuse, eating disorders, threats, panic attacks, and intimidation, and a psychologist was need to deal with them.”
“I saw with my own eyes that someone had to slap themself as punishment. In all these cases, the common thread is that these athletes are associated with Sebestyen. For some reason, these reports were set aside and confrontations were avoided,” Galambos said, upset by the incident. On Wednesday morning, she got into a heated argument with Sebestyen before going to the police, blaming her for the situation. She also claimed that Sebestyen laughed in her face after talking to the big men.
The coach is convinced that the federation is being controlled from behind the scenes by Sebestyen, and this is having a significant impact on her former coach and current sports director, Gurgen Vardanjan. On Wednesday morning, Vardanjan decided to indefinitely suspend the ice rink provided by the federation in the Vasas arena. He has not yet informed the clubs that use the rink about the reasons behind his decision.
“I’ve been on the ice for thirty years and I’ve endured a lot so far. But it goes beyond all limits, they are sending thugs to the ice rink before training sessions. Juli is a European champion and has great authority, but I see up close what happened to the kids she worked with,” Galambos told Telex.
The coach was noticeably affected by the events of the past few weeks, but she is not afraid of anyone, although, as she said, deep down she knows that she will have to pay a big price and finish coaching, which she considers the meaning of her life. She believes that if the parental petitions against Sebestyen (which mention physical abuse) do not have the desired effect, those involved cannot remain silent any longer and must speak out, even if it is painful, because it concerns their children.
“My suspicion is that these people have a connection to Sebestyen, since she has talked to them. I also told the police about this, because they suggested that I file a report, which I did. Maybe I’ll be like Joan of Arc, and even if I suffocate, I won’t back down, because only the truth matters. And the truth has a characteristic that it always comes out.
Of course, we also contacted Sebestyen Julia regarding the Wednesday incident. In advance, she said that there is another complaint, not just Galambos’. In February, when it was already known about the parental complaints, Sebestyen replied to 24.hu, saying that “I always carry out my work in the spirit of the MOKSZ, the European Sports Charter and the Sports Ethics Code, and as a human being, a former athlete, and a coach, I refrain from any physical and verbal violence, humiliating or offensive practice.”
Sebestyen responded to the incident via email to Telex, saying: “The unfortunate and extremely damaging hate campaign against figure skating has reached a new low in recent months. Rita Galambos has been conducting a systematic campaign against me, the parents and athletes belonging to my club (SKSE) in recent weeks, and this morning it escalated into verbal and physical violence. Unfortunately, she has been provoking and insulting the club’s athletes and parents regularly, and as a result, the athletes now only dare to come to practice accompanied by fathers or male relatives, because they are afraid of her. During Wednesday’s morning practice, she insulted the parents again, then attacked me and my colleague, using extremely vulgar language. She also vandalized and broke a bathroom door with her skates in several places. The police arrived at the scene, so further violence was prevented. One of my coaching colleagues filed a complaint for assault. This terrible incident shows that the accusations and defamation that occur in the sport must be put to an end, because they have such terrible consequences.”