More

This gymnast always looked up to Olympian Dominique Moceanu. Turns out they're sisters.

Moceanu's discovery of a long-lost sister with outstanding athletic talents might make you reconsider your stance on nature vs. nurture.

A quick look at Jen Bricker's physical achievements would make you think she was born to be an athlete.

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images.


The Los Angeles-based woman now works as a professional acrobat and aerialist, but before that, she was a master gymnast as a teen. She was a tumbling champion at her Illinois high school and placed fourth in the 1998 Junior Olympics. Her talent got her a gig as a featured performer on Britney Spears' "Circus" concert tour.

There's no lack of evidence she's strong and talented — there's even a video online of her breaking two wooden boards with her own hands.

#lifegoals. GIF via Fariborz Azhakh/YouTube.

Bricker never saw being born without legs as a reason to not pursue her athletic dreams.

Growing up, she never really saw her birth defect as a disability. She was drawn to watching gymnastics on TV, trying to mimic the moves on the screen.

Fortunately, her parents were very supportive of her attraction to sports and fully supported her along the way.

Growing up, one of her biggest role models was Olympian Dominique Moceanu.

Photo by Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images.

Like many young gymnasts in the day, Bricker looked up to Moceanu. She was so inspired by Moceanu's talent and still remembers being so excited when she watched Moceanu win the gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Her admiration was so strong that Bricker would secretly day dream about Moceanu being her sister.

And at the age of 16, her parents told her that her dream was, in fact, true. Moceanu and Bricker were long-lost sisters.

The long-lost sisters appear together and share their story on HLN's "Dr. Drew." Screenshot via HLN/YouTube.

The teenage Bricker asked her mother whether there was any information about her adoption that her parents didn't share. To her surprise, her mother shared that they knew her biological last name was Moceanu. Immediately, Bricker had a hunch that she was related to the Moceanu family.

It turned out that the reasons why she was drawn to Dominque Moceanu weren't a coincidence, after all.

On an episode of TLC's "Body Bizarre," Bricker explained her obsession with the Olympian, "I always had such a connection to her, immediately. I saw myself in her, she was small and I was small. I knew she was Romanian, I was Romanian."

Thanks to the professional investigation skills of Bricker's uncle, she was able to get confirmation that she and Moceanu had the same father. Bricker proceeded to meticulously collect as much hard proof as possible so she would not be dismissed as an out-of-touch fan.

Four years passed before she reached out to her sister for the first time through a letter.

As they corresponded, they both were blown away by their newly uncovered history and instant connection.

Jen Bricker with biological sisters Dominique and Christina Moceanu. Screenshot via Pretty Tough/YouTube.

It turned out that their father immediately put Bricker up for adoption once he learned about her disability. He was worried that the financial and time cost of raising a child with special needs would derail his ambitions for Dominique's gymnastics future.

The story of how Bricker was able to find her biological family is truly amazing: The adoption was supposed to be closed so Bricker could never find her biological parents, but a social worker's clerical error failed to delete the Moceanus from the file. Thanks to that error, Bricker eventually got to meet her biological mother, and she now has a close relationship with her two sisters.

As for Moceanu? She feels that the error just solidified her feelings that the reunion was meant to be. She told Psychology Today, "It was destiny etched in stone,” she says. “There was no other traceable route.”

The similarities between Moceanu and Bricker show just how powerful both nature and nurture can be.

Screenshot via laughandlove2/YouTube.

Bricker attributes her athletic success to the love and support of her family. They let her chase whatever dreams that she had.

"When it comes to families, I hit the jackpot," Bricker told ABC's "20/20."

It's quite likely that if she had been raised by the Moceanus, she wouldn't have gotten the same opportunities to fully explore her athletic interests.

It goes to show that when people are able to thrive in a loving, supportive environment, the possibilities truly are endless.

Throughout his basketball career Michael Jordan has been criticized for not letting his voice be heard when it came to political change. That does not appear to be the case anymore. In the month of June alone, Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand have donated $100 million dollars to organizations committed to race equality. A portion of the funds will be allocated to organizations helping to protect black voting rights.

In the latest announcement, Jordan himself and his Jordan Brand are investing $2.5 in organizations to help combat Black voter suppression. In a statement from the Jordan Brand, it was announced: $1 million dollars is being donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and $1 million to the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement. The Black Voters Matter organization will receive $500,000 in the statement which was first reported by CNN.


Keep Reading Show less
True

The United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of great challenge, including the worst global health crisis in its history. Will it bring the world closer together? Or will it lead to greater divides and mistrust?

Share your vision for shaping the future: take this 1-minute survey. Your responses to this survey will inform global priorities now and going forward.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a badass in the movies, but he's increasingly building a reputation as a heroic "action star" in real life. Only, instead of dropping ungodly amounts of fake bullets into his enemies, Schwarzenegger has been dropping rhetorical bombs against his political opponents while building intellectual and emotional bridges to those who disagree with him but still have open hearts and minds.

The most recent example found Arnold responding to a comment someone made on Facebook. On the surface, that may sound like just about the least unique or original jumping off point for a story.




Keep Reading Show less

Those of us who grew up in the Alanis Morissette angst era and followed her through her transformation into a more enlightened version of herself may be thrilled to know she has a new album out. Such Pretty Forks in the Road is her first album in eight years—and the first since two of her three children were born.

Anyone who's been working from home with kids knows that we're all in the same frequently interrupted boat. Such is the pandemic life. But we've also seen how those very human moments when kids insert themselves into life are some of the most real and precious. And that reality comes shining through in Morissette's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon performance of her new song, "Ablaze," which is, not so ironically, a song about her children. As she sings, it's clear that she's still got the chops that made her famous. It's also clear that her 4-year-old daughter, Onyx, just sees her mommy as mommy and not as the iconic pop star that she is. The performance is lovely and sweet, and hearing Onyx's little voice and seeing her put her hand over her mom's mouth as she sings is just too adorably real.

Keep Reading Show less