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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.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.

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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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