Dominique Moceanu got gold — and then a sister


As she vaulted, tumbled and dismounted, the daring and graceful 14-year-old Dominique Moceanu stole America’s heart as she helped the “Magnificent Seven” win America’s first team gold in women’s gymnastics at the 1996 Olympics.

Little did fans realize that behind the winsome waif was a nightmare life of overbearing Romanian coaches and an iron-fisted dad who would ultimately drive her to derail her gymnastic career, rebel against her parents and fall into rave parties and drugs, her autobiography Off Balance reveals.

When, at 17, she sued her abusive dad to legally “emancipate” herself, tabloids accused her being a spoiled brat. The gymnastics facility her dad built with her million dollar earnings eventually shuttered as her world unraveled.

dominique secret sister

Dominique Moceanu with the sister she never knew. Jennifer Bricker, born without legs, was adopted by a strong Christian family.

But none of this shook her as much as the revelation that she had a secret sister. Her Romanian immigrant parents had efficiently disposed of their third daughter, born with no legs, through the American adoption system.

“I was overcome with emotion,” Dominique told Christianity Today. “I was enraged, I was so upset that I had been lied to by omission for 20 years and for all that time I didn’t know and we were missing out on somebody’s life.”

She was 26 years old, married, pregnant and studying for final exams at college when the package arrived with a letter, pictures and adoption papers to demonstrate its sender was not just a fan trying to get an audience.

“You have been my idol all my life, and you turned out to be my sister!” the letter gushed.

Jennifer Bricker, adopted by a strong Christian family, had been raised to never use her disability as an excuse. She was strangely drawn to gymnastics and even won Illinois’ state high school tumbling championship. From an early age, she loved Dominique on the television and felt a strange connection to her.

“All the dots were connected from above, because all of this is too unbelievable to have it be just coincidence,” Dominique said. “Jennifer is very faithful, and we believe that God was leaving clues so she could find (me) one day.” Read the rest of the article.

10 responses to “Dominique Moceanu got gold — and then a sister

  1. I knew the story of Jennifer, but this is the first time I have heard Dominique’s viewpoint. God is good, regardless of how evil people can be.

  2. I’ve never heard any of this before. THANK YOU for sharing!!!

  3. Pingback: More Than Gold! | Jeffrey H. King's Blog

  4. What an awesome and incredible story! Wow! Thank you!

  5. Oh, yes…and it was a “must share”! Thanks again! God bless.

  6. Praise God that jen was adopted by a Christian family.
    I’m sorry to hear how Dominique suffered
    Many athletes in the upper echelon have overbearing or abusive parents
    That doesn’t make it right.
    Im just saying God can bring something beautiful out of the most tragic life

  7. Awesome. Heard the story but didn’t know it was them. How Wonderful.

  8. My Life as a Photographer

    Wow, insane and inspiring! Thank youLord that you’re alive and moving for people! 😀

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