We weren't sure whether to report this story at first, as we greatly respect Marian Dragulescu the athlete and didn't want to impair his reputation any more than we had to. However, since the story is big news in Romania, we decided to go ahead and publish it. Parts of it, anyway.
It appears that Dragulescu's estranged wife Larisa, with whom the vault specialist continued to live together for the love of their children (Beatrice Maria, aged 3, and Richard Alexandru, aged 1) despite having obtained a divorce in March, checked into a hospital a few nights ago with a black eye, claiming that her husband had beaten her up, and not for the first time. The incident resulted in massive headlines in Romania: "Dragulescu, accused of brutally assaulting his wife!" (ProSport), "A champion's blows: Marian Dragulescu beats his wife in front of the children" (Ziua), "Marian Dragulescu assaults his wife" (Mediafax), etc.
Details of the case are now forthcoming. Among other accusations we won't repeat here, Larisa is quoted in ProSport as saying, "He had beaten me before, even when I was pregnant, but this time he kicked me with his foot. After beating me, he said he didn't want me anymore and was going to kick me out of the house with the children. This time I won't forgive him anymore; things have already gone very far. So far I've always forgiven him because I loved him."
The Dragulescus in happier times (photo: ProSport).
According to Mediafax, Marian Dragulescu has admitted to lashing out at his ex-wife after discovering that the latter had spent over half of the money donated by third parties for the treatment of the couple's deaf daughter Beatrice Maria on clothes and shoes. "We had about 75 million lei ($25 million) in our account. Then she went and bought herself shoes, dresses, and boots. I spoke to her about it on Saturday, after which I went to a wedding. When I came back on Sunday, I was very tired and planning to go to bed, but she came to me and started to argue. She really had it in for me, probably because I had gone to the wedding without her. From 9PM to 2:30AM she kept yelling at me. In the end I lost my patience and couldn't bear it anymore. I'm not a violent man and I'm very sorry about what I've done. I was afraid because the children were there, and that's another reason why I'm very sorry," Dragulescu told Mediafax.
According to Mediafax, Dragulescu denies ever having beaten his wife before last week's incident.
For its part, ProSport had another Dragulescu quote: "I regret that it has come to this. It was an out-of-character thing for me to do. I couldn't bear the situation anymore. Every day there were rows and arguments. I acknowledge this mistake - that I gave her a blow with my fist. Aside from that, absolutely none of the things Larisa has said on TV are true. She just wanted to drag my name through the mud, to make me look like the worst man on earth. We couldn't go on anymore, we were at loggerheads all the time."
ProSport also quoted Adrian Stoica, the President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation, who said, "I'm shocked. I'm speechless. It's a difficult moment for the Dragulescus and I hope they have the maturity to deal with it in a dignified manner."
To be continued, we expect.