Former Soviet gymnast Tatiana Gutsu, the champion of 1992 Barcelona Olympics, accused the former teammate and legendary gymnast Vitaly Scherbo of raping her in 1991 during an international competition.
Tatiana shared the story on Facebook on Tuesday adding her voice to the #MeToo campaign that has become a global phenomenon after the revelations about film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Tatiana Gutsu, representing Ukraine, and Vitaly Scherbo, Belarus, were both part of the USSR’s Olympic team during their youth.
According to Gutsu, now 41, the sexual assault took place in Stuttgart, Germany. She was 15 and Scherbo was 19 at the time.
“This is me being brave after 27 years,” the gymnast wrote.
“Vitaliy Sherbo. Monster who kept me in my own prison to be afraid for so many years.”
In the post Tatiana mentioned two other people – teammates Tatyana Toropova and Rustam Sharipov – who, according to her words, knew about the rape but said nothing.
“You can’t (break) me down anymore,” the gymnast concluded. “I’m strong now (than) ever.”
What did the others say
A correspondent of SPORT.TUT.BY tried to contact Scherbo for a comment, but did not succeed. The champion did not reply to emails and was not available in Skype.
The staff of his School of Gymnastics in Las Vegas declined a conversation as well.
Tatyana Toropova, another “guilty” party, told TUT.BY on Wednesday that she did not know anything about the rape if it has even taked place.
“I was just as young as Tatiana at the time. We were busy competing, we came there to perform, not to (do filthy things),” Toropova said.
“Why would she say anything like that? Maybe he showed kind of interest towards her, but rape?… At least, I haven’t been a witness of that,” Tatyana Toropova said.
She added after 1991, when the USSR fell apart, she did not communicate neither with Scherbo nor with Gutsu for a long time.
Who is who
Tatiana Gutsu won the all-around title at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona. She retired abruptly from gymnastics following the Games and later moved to the United States.
Gutsu now owns a gymnastics gym in Michigan, NY Post writes.
Vitaly Scherbo is the legendary Soviet and Belarusian gymnast.
He was the most successful athlete at the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning 6 of 8 events – team, all-around, and 4 of 6 event finals. Four years later, he won four bronzes while competing for Belarus.
In 2009 the athlete was included into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Scherbo currently owns a gymnastics school in Las Vegas.
Rustam Sharipov, also from Ukraine, won a gold medal in the parallel bars in 1996. In 2011 he was hired as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team.
Tatyana Toropova de facto ended her career as a gymnast in 1992 when she did not get a place in the Olympic team.
Sources: TUT.BY, WP, NY Post.