Champion Gymnast's Hidden Life: Dominique Moceanu on Secret Sister


Moceanu would ultimately file for emancipation from her parents when she was 17,and got a restraining order against her father. After an injury quashed her bid for the 2000 Olympics, she went to college and was married in 2006 to a fellow gymnast named Mike Canales. Two years later, Moceanu's father, Dimitry Moceanu, died after a long battle with cancer.

While Moceanu grappled with her father's illness and looming death, she also underwent another life-changing experience: becoming a mother. She became pregnant with her first child soon after her marriage to Canales.

But two weeks before giving birth, Moceanu learned some shocking news. She received a package containing a letter and photos of a young woman who looked surprisingly similar to her younger sister Christina.

Reading the letter, she learned that the 20-year-old woman, named Jen Bricker, had been adopted and had recently learned that her birth name was Moceanu.

"It was the biggest bombshell of my life," Dominique Moceanu remembered. "I had this sister that was born who was given up for adoption, and I never knew it."

Moceanu confronted her mother and ailing father, who told her that the baby had been born the day after her sixth birthday. They had been poor and doctors had told them the child would require expensive medical care, so they gave her up for adoption. When Moceanu reached out to her new sister, Bricker confirmed the unusual condition that led doctors to recommend expensive care.

"Oh by the way. I have no legs," she told a stunned Moceanu. "But people forget that within minutes of meeting me."

Five years later, they have met many times and have developed a friendship and bond that only sisters could have. They're athletic, do gymnastics -- Bricker even competed in the Junior Olympics -- and have discovered other striking similarities.

"The tones in our voices, our handwriting, the way we laugh and chuckle. It's mind-blowing," Moceanu said.

Watch the full story on "20/20" now

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