The public sparring among Hungary’s Szilagyi swimming family received another chapter on Saturday when Liliana Szilagyi fired back at her sister, Gerda, on Instagram.
Liliana ignited the controversy when she posted on Instagram earlier this week that she suffered alleged “physical, spiritual, and sexual abuse” at the hands of her father, and former coach, Zoltan Szilagyi.
Zoltan, 54, was also a Hungarian Olympian, competing at the 1988, 1992, and 2000 Olympics. He refuted the allegations his daughter made in the Instagram post, writing that Lilliana cannot prove he ever abused her, her mother, or her sister Gerda. He wrote that he expected the issue to be resolved in court.
Liliana’s younger sister Gerda, also a Hungarian National Champion, then published an open letter refuting many of Liliana’s claims.
Liliana has responded via Instagram, posting a lengthy caption (that continues into the comments) alongside a provocative image of her with tape over her mouth and makeup smeared on her face.
While she specifically declined to respond to her father, saying that she didn’t want to make a “soap opera” out of it, she did take the chance to respond to her younger sister, saying “I can’t get my words to her otherwise.”
Translated from Hungarian:
“My dear little sister! Gerda! I know you are reading these lines. Know that you have been my biggest motivation since you were born. Everything I have done and am doing is largely so that you can live freely for once! There is immeasurable power in you and I know you are very, very deep now, but you are a real warrior and survivor! You always have been! I’m sorry if you don’t understand why this is happening now…And most of all, I’m sorry that our father uses you and your name as a shield in the same way that he used to use me. This is not your shame!
“I love you unspeakably and I miss you! But I’m fighting for you. Mom and I are fighting for you in every way!”
She then goes on to tell her sister that the investigation by the Hungarian Swimming Association (MUSZ), which her sister attacks in her letter, indicates the importance of the topic.
Liliana is 25 years old, while her younger sister Gerda is 18.
Liliana was a double Youth Olympic Games Champion in 2014 in the 100 and 200 fly, and a year earlier won silver medals in the same two events at the World Junior Championships. Her highest senior international finish came at the 2016 European Championships in long course, where she earned a silver medal in the 200 fly.
In the post, Szilagyi also posts about her experience reading the comments on her photo. She says that the words “pride, strength, hope” describe how she’s feeling right now, and that when she posted about her experiences, she thought nobody would understand. Instead, she says she has experienced people opening up to her and sharing their own experiences.
Lilian Szilagyi skipped qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the time saying she needed to tend to her “body & soul.” She had previously been training under Shane Tusup, former coach and husband of Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu.