Dominique Moceanu

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Dominique Moceanu Trivia

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  • Trivia

    • Dominique's second child, son Vincent Michael, was born on March 13th, 2009.

    • A few years before the 1996 Olympics, when Dominique was signing autographs for fans, she wrote on one of them, "Dominique Moceanu, 1996 Olympic Champion, For Sure."

    • Dominique and husband, Dr. Michael Canales, welcomed their first child, daughter Carmen Noel Canales, on Christmas Day, 2007.

    • Dominique was 4"6 and weighed a reported 72 pounds when she was a 14-year-old competitor in the 1996 Olympics. 11 years later, she grew 10 inches and proudly stated that after being the shortest member of the USA Olympic team, she was now the tallest of them all.

    • At the height of her fame, during the 1996 OIympics, Dominique was often referred to as being "half Mary Lou Retton, half Nadia Comenici."

    • Dominique is the only member of the Magnificent Seven to have her own DVD, available for purchase on her website. It's called Dominique's Golden Moments and shows her early competitions, home movies, and recent training footage.

    • The crowd was speechless when, during the 1996 Olympic women's gymnastics team finals, Dominique fell on both of her vault landings. Kerri Strug bailed her out to land her own final vault, but when asked about this, Dominique has said, "I was so completely stunned. I have never done that in my life."

    • When Dominique fell on her head during a balance beam tumbling pass at the 2006 Olympics, she amazed everyone by clinging tightly to the edge of the beam and standing up without falling off completely.

    • Dominique appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair at the age of 14.

    • Dominique's autobiography An American Champion was #6 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

    • At the age of 14, Dominique was the youngest American gymnast to ever make the Olympic Team in 1996. The age requirements have changed since then, so she will always hold the record in that area.

    • Dominique is the first gymnast to have her own bobblehead doll.

    • In her spare time Dominique enjoys watching gymnastics videos.

    • Was featured on a collectible calling card after the 1996 Olympic Games.

    • Owns a apricot toy poodle named "Princess".

    • Dominique's favorite movies are Titanic, Goodwill Hunting and Rudy.

    • Dominique's favorite song is "Unchained Melody".

    • Dominique's favorite color is purple.

    • Dominique's favorite kind of pizza is Spinach Feta Pizza.

    • Dominique's favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road.

    • Even before she won the Junior National Championship in 1994, Dominique's autograph read: Dominique Moceanu, 1996 Olympic Champion.

    • Dominique hosts a yearly gymnastics competition at her gym called the "Dominique Moceanu Invitational".

    • Dominique was the youngest gymnast to win the U.S. Senior National Championships at age 13.

    • Dominique was the youngest gymnast (Age 10) to make the United States National Gymnastics Team.

    • Dominique's idols are Nadia Comaneci and Svetlana Boginskaya.

    • At one point Dominique had plans to build a Romanian Orthodox church with her earnings from gymnastics.

    • In 1997 Dominique's family built a gym called Moceanu Gymnastics with her earnings from the John Hancock Post-Olympic Tour. It was the biggest gym in the country. However, the gym was sold in 1999 to pay for the legal fees involved in Dominique's lawsuit against her father for squandering her earnings.

    • Dominique's nickname is Nique (pronounced "NEEK").

    • Dominique's favorite foods are: chicken, steak, spinach, feta cheese and traditional Romanian cooking.

    • Dominique's favorite color is red.

    • Dominique's favorite event is floor exercise and her least favorite event is uneven bars.

    • Dominique began gymnastics in 1984.

    • Dominique suffered a concussion in May 2006 after hitting her head while training on the vault. She says that this is the first time she saw gymnastics as a dangerous sport.

    • Dominique won a silver medal on the balance beam during the 1995 World Gymnastics Championships held in Sabae, Japan just a few weeks after turning 14, making her one of the youngest gymnasts to win an individual medal on any event at the World Championships.

    • Dominique always wears ballet-like slippers when performing on the balance beam because of an allergic reaction to the rosin (chalk) that gymnasts put on their feet to give them more traction.

    • Dominique was once trained by the famous Romanian coach Bela Karolyi, who also trained Nadia Comaneci and MaryLou Retton.

    • The godparents for Dominique's wedding ceremony were Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, two other very famous gymnasts.

    • Dominique was married to Michael in a traditional Romanian Orthodox wedding.

    • Dominique was the youngest athlete to be featured on the Wheaties cereal box.

    • As of 2006, Dominique is attending John Carroll University.

    • She was the youngest member of "The Magnificent 7" team that won the team gold medal in Atlanta Olympic Games, also making her the youngest US gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal.

    • Her husband Michael Canales is a former nationally ranked collegiate gymnast (Ohio State University) and is now a surgical resident in Podiatry.

    • Dominique considers her Olympic gold medal and her Goodwill Games gold medal to be her most treasured awards in gymnastics.

    • Dominique starred in a Coca-Cola commercial in 1996.

    • Dominique speaks Romanian fluently.

    • Dominique has a younger sister, Cristina.

    • Dominique once modeled for the store 5-7-9.

    • Dominique wrote her own autobiography at the age of 14 called "An American Champion".

    • In a poll done by Sports Illustrated of all of the United States athletes on the 1996 Olympic Team, Dominique was the lightest (72 pounds), the shortest (4'6" tall) and had the smallest shoe size (womens' 5 1/2)!

  • Quotes

    • Dominique Moceanu: (when asked why she sung the Karolyis' praises in her 1995 autobiography, then turned on them several years later) At fourteen years old, what else could I say about the Karolyis? I was never allowed to speak out, for fear of punishment. A common question is, "Why didn't you just leave if it was so bad?" and while that seems logical, bear in mind that the Olympics were literally weeks away when things were at their worst, and my entire family had moved to Houston in hopes of seeing me reach my goal. Needless to say, it wouldn't have been easy to leave. When you're in it, you're engrossed with the task at hand, and you lose sight of the big picture...quite simply, I didn't know that training and treatment could be conducted in another manner. I just thought, "This is how it has to be." I'm wiser now.

    • Dominique Moceanu: (on how she thinks that Bela and Marta Karolyi, who prepared her for the 1996 Olympics, should be removed as gymnastics coaches) If it were up to the athletes, it would have been done a long time ago...I'm not saying that you don't have to work hard, but what was done shouldn't have been done. I think there's a better way to do it, bottom line. I've had several coaches after the Karolyis, and I know that it can be done in a healthier way, both physically and emotionally.

    • Dominique Moceanu: Once I got to the Karolyis', I learned very quickly what the word "diet" was. This is probably gonna sound crazy, but my aunt had given me this huge teddy bear while I was training before the Olympics, and she literally had Mentos, Twizzlers, and gum hidden in it for me, so I could keep it in my room. I laugh now because I'm psychologically over all that stuff, but I did feel deprived, and I couldn't wait for the Olympics to be over so I could go and grab some brownies! That's not how a 14-year-old should react after winning the biggest competition of their life with their teammates.

    • Dominique Moceanu: (about her gymnastics life) It was a strict environment, all business, very little compassion, and it was a job. A lot of the fun was taken out of it for me at that time. Let me give you an example. 10 years old, I had a torn hamstring. 12 years old, a wrist injury. 14 years old, going into the Olympics with a tibial stress fracture. 18, knee surgery. We were taught to be a warrior. Don't say anything. If you do, there are repercussions, and at the elite scene, you see a lot of coaches overlooking the injury because of that dream.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I'd like to be remembered like the old Dom, just smiling and having fun. The Dom they first fell in love with, that smile, that young Dominique. I want people to realize how much I've been through and understand that you know what? It was a hard road, but I gave it my all. Just being a two-time Olympian would have meant a lot to me. That would have just been great, like at the end of the rainbow, the pot of gold. But at least in my heart, I know that I tried. I still had it in me.

    • Dominique Moceanu: (about her and her six Olympic teammates) We all know what it took on the days when the cameras weren't around, the days when we were in the gym by ourselves with our coaches, extra days we had to spend crying. Our blood, sweat, and tears were put into this Olympic medal.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I am a religious person, yes. I mean, I'm not weirdly crazy about it or anything, but I am very religious. Like, at the [1996] Olympics, God helped me make it through, because you know what? How else could I have done that with my stress fracture?

    • Dominique Moceanu: (about her baby daughter, Carmen, in 2008) It's pretty amazing how strong she is already. It takes two of us to hold her down and change her diaper! Coaching her one day would be the ultimate dream, but simple moments like watching her sleep are already a dream come true. We just stare at her. We can't believe she's really ours.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I try to stay humble. I can't have it all. I won a gold medal at 14. That's pretty darn good. I let myself relax a little bit. I've accomplished what I wanted.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I've come to a point in my life where I can appreciate the sport of gymnastics on a different level. Because I teach it, I can appreciate how difficult it is. I try to inspire the kids. That's wonderful to me to give back so much. I tell the kids, "Do this for yourself." No matter what you're doing, be the best you can possibly be at it, whether it's academics, gymnastics, or another sport. It doesn't matter what it is. Give your heart, never give up, and finish what you start. I like to see kids finish, because I think that teaches a good lesson.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I always tell my athletes to keep their heads grounded and stay humble, stay appreciative. Being at the peak of your career doesn't last forever. After you accomplish everything you want to in the sport -- whether it goes well for you or not -- you have the rest of your life to live. You always have to have a backup plan. Education is number one. I always tell everyone I coach to go for a scholarship in college. There are so many benefits and rewards.

    • Dominique Moceanu: Sunny days and flowers, they don't sell stories. People want drama. That's why all these reality shows are on television now. That's why I tell all these little kids to be careful what they wish for. Fame isn't always all it's cracked up to be.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I was one of those bouncy, hyperactive kids. My parents were born and raised in Romania, where gymnastics is very, very huge. My parents decided that their first child would be a gymnast. They put me in it and needless to say, I loved it.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I didn't get to go to the prom. I didn't get to do normal after-school activities. I was always stuck training. I gave up a lot of my friendships. I didn't really hang out with kids at school, I didn't make many friends. I was on a completely different schedule than they were; I was always on a different path. I didn't get to do the girly sleepovers and all that stuff. I was on a mission to go to the Olympics someday, and I was only 14 when I did it. I was just a baby.

    • Dominique Moceanu: My mom often cooks traditional Romanian food, which I love, and I'll have a small portion of that. Every once in a great while, if I want an extra treat, I'll have a cookie or two, or a piece of chocolate.

    • Dominique Moceanu: I have a great relationship with my parents now. Yeah, there were tough times for a little while, but it's great now. It's unfortunate that my life was in the public eye. I didn't realize how many people felt like they had the power to peek into my life and say bad things about me and my family at the time. But I know now that we're strong enough to beat that, we're strong enough to overcome anything. We're actually closer because of all that now because it didn't break us. We were able to prevail and persevere and make it, and we're OK now. I was just a kid. This issue was between my father and I, and a lot of people couldn't understand what was going on and wanted to make it a huge story. It was a personal thing that got blown out of proportion. I guess that's the price you have to pay when you're in the spotlight. But people have no idea how many nights of tears there were over that and how hard it was on us.

    • (following her lawsuit against her father)
      Dominique: There's a lot of pressure on me, because everyone's waiting to see what will happen to Dominique.

    • (on her autobiography reaching #6 on the NY Times Bestseller List)
      Dominique: It's great that people are reading it and enjoying it!

    • (about falling on her head during her beam routine during the 1996 Olympic individual competitions)
      Dominique Moceanu: I just--I can't watch it. It's like "Aaaah!" I still can't believe I did that there, you know? Those stupid things you do, you don't know why they happen, but they happen for some reason. Everything happens for a reason, I guess. But you know what, I didn't even feel any pain, until maybe after, like the day after. I just felt a little sore, like "Ow, my neck!" But I guess I was really tough. A hard head, you know?

    • (on how her Olympic gold medal changed her life)
      Dominique: I had proposals--people asking me to marry them and I was fourteen-years-old. I don't even know how to drive yet--why are you asking me this?!

    • Dominique: I turned professional at the age of 10!

    • (on her stress fracture)
      Dominique: My whole world was crumbling. My Olympic dream was falling because of this injury!

    • (on how gymnastics consumed her childhood)
      Dominique: There was nothing else outside of it. No friends, no anything. Gymnastics was it.

    • (on all of the hype surrounding her before the 1996 Olympic Games)
      Dominique: I like the attention, but I'm not going to get a big head or anything. It's not going to stop me from concentrating on what I need to do.

    • (on her falls on vault during the '96 Olympic Games)
      Dominique: I was stunned. I've done that vault a million times and never once messed up on it! It was just...bad luck, I guess.

    • (on her decision to keep training for the '96 Olympic Games even with her injured leg)
      Dominique: This is, you know, a big meet! It's the most important meet of anyone's life! I can't quit now!

    • (on her decision to compete in the 1996 National Championships on an injured leg)
      Dominique: It hurt, but what could I do? I had to finish my competition. I had to grit my teeth somehow and make it through...it was really bad at first.

    • (on not winning an individual medal at the 1996 Olympic Games)
      Dominique: Well, it's...you know, a little disappointing, because you want to be up there [on the medal stand] with everybody else. And this is only the second big international meet that I've ever been to, and I've accomplished a lot!

    • (on taking her parents to court)
      Dominique: It's not a matter of money. It's just I want to be able to control my future.

    • (at the 1998 Goodwill Games)
      Dominique: Here I am, right in your face--I'm still good!