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Rio Olympics 2016: Relationship between Katinka Hosszu and husband Shane Tusup raises eyebrows

By Rebecca Sullivan of news.com.au

Shane Tusup, the husband and coach of Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu, has made headlines around the world for his euphoric celebration of his wife's 400m individual medley win.

Hosszu, 27, who calls herself the "Iron Lady", won gold in the final and broke the controversial world record set by China's Ye Shiwen in London by more than two seconds.

Vision of Tusup cheering and fist pumping poolside went viral, as viewers rejoiced in his primal act of spousal support.

Shane Tusup celebrates as his wife wins gold and a new world record in the Women's 400m Individual Medley. Photo / Getty Images
Shane Tusup celebrates as his wife wins gold and a new world record in the Women's 400m Individual Medley. Photo / Getty Images

Even NBC's official Olympics Twitter account encouraged women to "find someone who loves you the way Katinka Hosszu's husband loves her". After seeing the footage, one woman tweeted, "I want a Shane Tusup in my life."

If the online response to Tusup's joyous reaction is anything to go by, it seems a man who publicly backs his wife this passionately is sadly an anomaly.

We're used to seeing the wives and girlfriends of male sports stars support their partners in the stands, but the sight of a man literally jumping up and down with excitement over his wife's success is much more unusual.

But while Tusup was overjoyed by his Hosszu's performance in the final, he wasn't so stoked with her swim in the heat, when she narrowly missed breaking the world record.

He looked visibly angry and "went absolutely bananas", according to one news report.

It's not the first time Tusup has lost his cool after a less-than-brilliant swim by Hosszu.


Hosszu's incredible world record swim and a New York Times profile on her relationship with Tusup have put the couple in the spotlight this week.

Some have raised questions about the appropriateness of Tusup's behaviour.

An NBC announcer alluded to the rumours during Sunday night's broadcast: "The influence he's had on her ... it can be very, very harsh. In fact, it's been a little disturbing to other swimmers who've observed it. And Hosszú admits that," he said.

"He's pretty hard as a coach," Hosszu told The Times, "but at home he's supersweet and loving and really funny. So we can laugh a lot."

Husband and coach of Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, Shane Tusup watches the semifinal of the women's 100-meter backstroke. Photo / AP
Husband and coach of Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, Shane Tusup watches the semifinal of the women's 100-meter backstroke. Photo / AP

She described her relationship with Tusup as "pretty complicated".

"I'm definitely more the one who's laid-back," she said. "Because he's so emotional and he really wants us to get the goals we set for ourselves, that's probably why he's able to be that way.

"We always try to push each other, I think, and we really try to - I'm trying to think how to say this - ignore everything else for the goals. So if we get in a fight, we know why or try to figure out why, so if he says something during practice and I know he's speaking as a coach, I won't be offended. I probably would be offended if he would talk to me like that as a husband."

But others close to the couple described Tusup's behaviour as "scary".

"I've seen a lot of inappropriate and not-OK behaviour in Shane," said Jessica Hardy, an Olympic medallist who used to train with Hosszu.

"I've seen coaches exhibit that kind of behaviour in training, but this is another level. It's scary."

Hungary's Katinka Hosszu with her gold medal. Photo / Getty Images
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu with her gold medal. Photo / Getty Images

One of Hosszu's former coaches, Dave Salo, questioned whether Tusup's intense tactics were productive.

"I think the biggest issue with her is her husband," he said. "I think you have to look at her motivation. Is it fear or confidence that is driving her?"

But Tusup defended his behaviour and told The Times he's not a bully.

"That's what it appears a lot of times," he said. "I get a bad rep in the US because these parents in the stands, they're going, 'He's such a jerk; he yells at her when she doesn't swim fast.'

"No, the hard part of swimming is that there's a lot of times you just settle for OK, and we agreed that the goal was never to settle for OK, that we're going to keep pushing, even if we don't get it, to be great, to be amazing, to be legendary.

"I always say if you find a coach who can make you a step or two better, or if what we're doing is not working and you think there's something you need to change, you need to tell me because then I'll step back, that coach will step in, and we'll be happy," Tusup said, adding, "She has that offer to this day."

- news.com.au

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