Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Dominique Moceanu received quite a surprise a few years ago – a sister she never knew she had named Jen Bricker, who was born without legs but who also competed in gymnastics, rising all the way to the level of the Junior Olympics.
Moceanu’s story came to light with the publishing of her book “Off Balance,” a memoir in which she reveals that Bricker wrote to her in 2007, just as Moceanu was about to give birth to her first child.
Bricker was born when Moceanu was six years old. Her biological parents gave her up for adoption immediately and she was taken in by a couple in Illinois with three sons.
“My parents made me feel everything but handicapped growing up. Handicapped wasn’t even a word we used,” Bricker tells ABC News.
Bricker, as a power tumbler, grew up idolizing Dominique, because she knew they were both Romanian and thought they looked alike. When she was 16, her adoptive parents revealed to her the identity of her biological parents and famous older sister. Bricket later sent a letter to Dominique, hoping to connect.
Moceanu says that the two women, plus her younger sister Christina, are working to make up for lost time.
“It’s so much fun every time the three of us get together. And I can’t believe this crazy life is my crazy life. And by crazy, I mean awesome!” says Bricker.