INDIANAPOLIS, July 25, 2016 – USA Gymnastics has agreed to terms with Bela and Martha Karolyi to purchase the gymnastics facilities, including gyms, athlete and coach housing and recreational areas, currently owned by the legendary coaches. Located in Huntsville, Texas, the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center, which is an official U.S. Olympic Training Site, will be renamed as the USA Gymnastics Athlete Development Center at the Karolyi Ranch.
“Acquiring the gymnastics-related portion of the Karolyi Ranch is an important step in our upcoming transition from Martha’s leadership as national team coordinator to her successor,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The women’s national team has been training at the Karolyi Ranch since the turn of the century, and it has now become our home for training athletes in many of our disciplines. Athletes of all ages and skill levels are impacted by the prestige and tradition embodied at the Ranch, and we are excited to continue the legacy of success that has been developed over the years.”
“This is a dream come true,” commented Bela Karolyi. “From the very beginning our goal has been to create something truly unique for USA Gymnastics and over the past few years that mission has been accomplished. The transition of ownership to the federation is exactly what we envisioned.”
“I am incredibly proud of the system that we have created and the success of our women’s program for the past 15 years,” added Martha Karolyi, who has served as the national team coordinator since 2001. “It is the right time for Bela and me to enjoy the other things in life while still remaining connected to USA Gymnastics through the ongoing activities at the Ranch.”
Located in the middle of the Sam Houston Forest, the portion of the Karolyi Ranch that USA Gymnastics is purchasing is 36.2 acres and includes housing for 300 athletes, coaches and administrators; three training gyms, two artistic/acro and one multi-discipline (rhythmic, trampoline/tumbling); a dance studio; dining and recreational areas; medical and rehab facilities; and office space. The training gym for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling was added in 2010.
The Karolyis first began training athletes at the Ranch in 1984, which at that time encompassed a gym and their home on 50 acres. They will retain their personal residences, the Lodge and the remaining acreage.
The Ranch has hosted all of the elite training activities for the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2001. This includes both national and international training camps, team selection camps and events, national qualifiers, international events, developmental camps and educational events, including high performance coaching seminars and international judges’ certification events. Rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline/tumbling also hold regular camps at the Ranch. In addition, developmental and junior level gymnasts for all three disciplines attend camps and events at the Ranch, providing valuable instruction and experience.
The U.S. Women’s National Team began training at the Ranch in the lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games, and Bela Karolyi initiated the semi-centralized training program at that time. The Ranch was named the U.S. Women’s National Team Training Center in 2001, and the women’s gymnastics program officially adopted the semi-centralized training system after the 2000 Olympic Games. Members of the national team and their coaches travel to the Ranch every four to six weeks to work with the national team coaching staff. This allows them to train in the comfort of their personal gym and hometown, but also provides the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the coaching staff on a regular basis.
In 2011, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) designated the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch as a U.S. Olympic Training Site in cooperation with USA Gymnastics. The USOC has partnered with world-class, elite athlete training facilities across the nation to help America’s Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls receive the best athletic training services possible.
Quick facts/timeline for the USA Gymnastics National Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch
Location: 454 Forest Service Rd. 200, located in the middle of the Sam Houston National Forest in Huntsville, Texas
Size: 2,000 acres
- Two artistic gymnastics training facilities, used by acrobatic gymnastics also (50,000 sq. ft. total)
- Multi-purpose training gym for rhythmic and trampoline and tumbling (32,000 sq. ft.)
- Medical and rehab facilities
- Dance studio
- Dining hall
- Housing for 300 participants, coaches and administrators
- Athlete lounge areas
- Recreational facilities, including Olympic-size swimming pool, basketball court, tennis court, volleyball court, fitness room, indoor whirlpool and sauna
- Internet access
1983 – Karolyi purchases 50 acres bordering on the Sam Houston National Forest, north of Huntsville.
1984 – Gym and cabins are built and the Ranch opens for summer camp
1986-89 – Ranch grows to 2,000 acres
1999 – Bela Karolyi is appointed to newly created position of national team coordinator (through 2000 Olympic Games) and monthly training camps at the Ranch begin, marking the creation and beginning of the semi-centralized training system.
2001 – Semi-centralized training system officially adopted, and Ranch is designated as the “U.S. Women’s National Team Training Center.”
2001 – Martha Karolyi is named women’s national team coordinator (a position she still holds).
2003 – Dance studio is added.
2003 – Completion of second gym expands training center to 30,000 sq. ft. in total.
2004 – “Walk of Fame” brick path is unveiled.
2006 – Additional housing is built for coaches and gymnasts.
2007 – The Lodge is added.
2010 – Third training facility is built, especially designed for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling.
2011 – Designated as a “U.S. Olympic Training Site”
2015 – Additional housing is built and a fitness room is added.
2016 – USA Gymnastics purchases the gymnastics-related facilities, recreational areas and athlete/coach housing and dining areas.