Dominique Moceanu

Dominique Moceanu is a retired American gymnast. She was a member of the Olympic Gold medal winning 1996 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team in Atlanta.

Moceanu began gymnastics classes in Illinois at the age of 3½ and later trained at LaFleur’s club in Florida. In 1991, at the age of 10, she moved to Houston, Texas, where she became one of the last gymnasts to be trained by the legendary Romanian coaches Marta and Béla Károlyi. She began competing internationally at a young age, earning her first U.S. National Team berth in 1992. At the age of 10½, in spring 1992, she earned five medals—gold in the team event, uneven bars, vault and floor exercise; silver in the all-around—at that year’s Junior Pan Am Games.

Under Károlyi’s tutelage, Moceanu became the U.S. Junior National Champion in 1994. In 1995 she repeated her success as a senior, becoming the youngest gymnast ever to win the USA Gymnastics National Championships. She was also the youngest member of the American team at the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, Japan. She did not disappoint, earning the highest American placement in the all-around competition and becoming the only American gymnast to win an individual medal, a silver on the balance beam.

She was the youngest member of both the 1995 World Championships team and the gold medal-winning 1996 Olympic squad, the Magnificent Seven, and was popular with both the public and gymnastics fans. She is the last gymnast to compete at an Olympic Games legally at the age of 14.

Moceanu’s last major success in gymnastics was the 1998 Goodwill Games, where she became the only American to win the all-around gold medal. Family issues, coaching changes, and injuries derailed her efforts to participate in the Sydney Olympics, and she retired in 2000. Since then, she has continued to participate in gymnastics exhibitions, work as a coach, and pursue her post-secondary studies.

 

Categories: Woman of the Day

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