It has been 16 years since Dominique Moceanu took home the gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics, but she's already making headlines ahead of this year's games with an incredibly touching story about a long-lost sibling.
In her new biography, Off Balance, the champion gymnast reveals that on a fateful day in December 2007, she discovered she had a sister, Jennifer Bricker, who is six years younger than Moceanu and was put up for adoption as a newborn in 1987. Bricker was born without legs.
"The letter explained that Jennifer had always known that she was of Romanian heritage, but that it wasn't until she was turning sixteen that her adoptive parents decided to share the details of her birth," Moceanu, whose younger sister, Christina, was born in 1989, writes in her book. "They revealed to her the names of her biological parents, and me, her biological sister. She wrote that she had been waiting four years to contact me directly. Jennifer would have been the middle sister. Why was she given up for adoption when Christina and I were allowed to stay?"
Moceanu, now a 30-year-old married mom of two, details how her parents attributed their quiet decision to Bricker's looming expensive medical bills, and how the cost would have been a huge financial burden on their poor family.
It's a happy ending for both Moceanu and Bricker, who became a power tumbler in the Junior Olympics, and today is a professional acrobat and aerialist. In fact, Bricker grew up idolizing Moceanu.
"I wouldn't shut up about her!" Bricker mused in an interview with ABC News. "I knew she was Romanian. I knew we looked alike. Her biggest fan!"
"It's so much fun every time the three of us get together," Bricker added, referring to Dominique and Christina, 22. "And I can't believe this crazy life is my crazy life. And by crazy, I mean awesome!"
In an unrelated event, Moceanu sued her parents for legal emancipation to regain control over her money just two years after winning the Olympic gold in Atlanta. They have since reconciled and reconnected.
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