Dominique Moceanu is an " open book " like what her coach Bela Karolyi has mentioned in Sports Illustrated. She is an out going child like Mary Lou Retton, an American gymnast, who had once won all-around gold medals in the Soviet-boycotted 1984 Summer Games. Dominique is one who can laugh in a minute and cry in the next but this is the good kind of girl to coach.
Do you know how she managed to become a gymnast? Here's how the story goes...
Dumitru, her father, was once very interested in gymnastics. He was a youngster filled with dreams and used to be a member of the Romanian Junior gymnastics team. Unfortunately, his mother wanted him to concentrate on his studies and thus, he had no choice but to give up his beloved sport. However, he did not give up gymnastics totally and pinned all his hopes on his daughter, Dominique, where she later received coaching from the famous Bela Karolyi and became a rising star.
Dominique was born on 30th September, 1981 in Hollywood, California.When Dominique was 3, the anxious Dumitru contacted Bela Karolyi and asked him to work with his child. However, Dominique was still young and Bela urged him a little patience -- about 6 years worth. And he patiently did so.
At 9, Dominique and her whole family moved to Houston to have the child specially trained by Karolyi.
In 1995 (when Dominique was 13), she showed to the best of her ability at the Visa Challenge at George Mason University in Virginia when she was placed 1st in the overall despite having to compete with other world class gymnasts such as Kim Zmeskal, Dominique Dawes, Svetlana Boguinskaia, not forgetting others from Belgium, China and Romania. In review of that competition, Sports Illustrated's E.M.Swift wrote: "Dominique performs older than she looks. Her hand movements on the beam for example, are not those for a 13 year old. The way she carries her head, her facial expressions, her swagger, if you'll all conspire to convince there is an older person inside that tiny body. And as she proved ... while pretending to play Let's Twist Again on the piano during her winning floor exercise routine, she knows how to perform for the crowd." Furthermore, she also took part in the Senior National Champion and amazingly, she won and became the youngest competitor ever to win.
In the same year, she became the World Championship Silver and Bronze medalist.
The following year, she became the Olympic Gold medalist. Once again, she was the youngest and smallest athlete to compete in the 1996 Olympic Games. (This record can never be broken because in the beginning of year 2000, the age requirement to compete in the Olympics is 16 years of age. Dominique was only 14.) She developed to her full potential in 1997 when she made into the World Championship team and won the individual All-Around Finalist medal. This year, she also became the Goodwill Games Gold medalist.
Dominique befriended Nadia Comenci, who was her idol, since a young age and holds a special bond with her because of their Romanian heritage. Not only that, she is also strongly influenced by Zmeskal and Boguinskaia. When asked about her impressions on them, she replied, " Svetlana's so elegant and expressive and Kim's so powerful. I try to take that with me."
With so much support from her family, coaches and mentors, Dominique will never get psycho over pressure.
She is so genuine and true.
" I want people to remember me for being happy and for my smile, " she told Sports Illustrated. " I don't fake smile."
You can visit Dominique's very own website at :