Dominique Moceanu is the daughter of two Romanian immigrants who defected to the United States in 1980. Dominique was born September 30, 1981 and from the start her parents wanted her to be a gymnast. When she was only one-year-old her parents strung a clothesline across their kitchen and had Dominique hang onto it to test her strength--and the line fell before she did!
Dominique's father, Dimitry, moved the family around the United States in order for Dominique to receive the best training money could buy, and eventually Dominique was accepted into the famed Bela Karolyi's gym in Houston, Texas. Dominique trained there for many years, becoming the youngest Junior National Champion in 1994 and the youngest Senior National Champion in 1995. All seemed well leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games until she competed in the 1996 Senior National Championships and discovered that she had a four centimeter stress fracture in her right tibia. Heartbroken and devastated, Dominique underwent intensive physical therapy and recooperation with the hopes that maybe she would be healed in time for the Olympic Games. She petitioned to the Olympic Trials, where they would be picking the seven girls to be on the Olympic team, hoping that her reputation and scores from a previous meet would keep her in the running. It, indeed, was enough and Dominique was on the Olympic team and her leg had healed, so she was all ready to go! She helped the United States team win the first team gold medal in history for the United States.
After 1996 Bela retired and Dominique bumped around the country from gym to gym until the gym that her father had built her with her Olympics earnings was completed and she had a new coach, Lumi Miscenco. After coming back from a bad year in 1997 Dominique won the gold medal in the All-Around at the 1998 Goodwill Games, but the joy was not to last. By the end of the year she had taken her parents to court for abuse and mistreatment of the money she had earned and was declared a legal adult at the age of 17. The media blew up the event, saying that Dominique was trying to divorce her parents, but Dominique said it was about being able to control her own money and her future. After that Dominique took nearly a year off of training and eventually ended up being coached by Marylee Tracey, one of the Olympic coaches from 1996, and tried to make the 2000 Olympic Team, but she sustained a bad knee injury at the Olympic Trials and did not make the team. Today, Dominique is still training and is coaching younger gymnasts. She competed in the 2006 American Classic Competition, but did not qualify for the 2006 National Championships. After the disappointment of being denied the opportunity to compete at Nationals Dominique decided to retire from competition, but continues to perform in exhibitions and hosts her own competition called the Dominique Moceanu Invitational.
On December 25, 2007, Dominique and her husband, Michael Canales, welcomed their first child, daughter Carmen Noel into their family.