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.

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