Dominique Moceanu (born September 30, 1981 in Hollywood, California) is an American gymnast of Romanian descent who was a member of the Olympic Gold medal winning 1996 U.S. Women's Gymnastics team in Atlanta (the "Magnificent 7").
The hallmarks of Moceanu's gymnastics, in the early stage of her elite career, were daring tricks on balance beam and spunky, inspired presentation on floor exercise. In the latter part of her elite career, under the direction of new coaches, she developed a more elegant, mature style. Although she was never considered to be an overwhelmingly innovative gymnast, she did display a high level of difficulty in her gymnastics, particuarly on beam and floor.
Dominique was one of the last gymnasts to be trained by the legendary Romanian coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi in Houston Texas. Although she began her gymnastics career at LeFleur's in Florida, by the time she was twelve she was one of Karolyi's stars. Under Karolyi's tutelage she became the US Junior National Champion in 1994. In 1995 she repeated her success as a senior, becoming the youngest gymnast ever to win the US Championships. She was the youngest member of the American team at the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, Japan. Dominque did not disappoint, earning the highest American placement in the all-around competition and becoming the only American gymnast to win an individual medal, a silver on the balance beam.
Dominique was expected by many to be a major medal threat at the 1996 Olympics. However, following the 1996 US Nationals, where she placed third in the all-around, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her right tibia. Her injury forced her to sit out of the Olympic Trials, but she was petitioned onto the team on the strength of her Nationals scores.
At the Olympics, Dominique contributed heavily to the team gold medal, turning in such strong performances that she qualified for the event finals on balance beam and floor exercise. However, she faltered in the last rotation of team finals, falling on both of her vaults. She only advanced to the all-around finals as a replacement for injured teammate Kerri Strug. Small mistakes cost her a medal, but she still placed a respectable ninth. In BB event finals, Dominique suffered a horrifying fall when she missed a foot on a layout and crashed into the balance beam on her head. She finished the exercise and went on to a strong performance in the floor finals later that day, finishing fourth and just missing a medal.
Following the Atlanta Olympics, Dominique participated in numerous tours and professional gymnastics exhibitions before returning to competition. With the retirement of the Karolyis, she went through several coaching changes before finally settling down at Mary Lee Tracy's CGA gym in 1999.
Dominique participated in the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, leading a new and mostly inexperienced US team. She was elected team captain, but the competition was not a positive experience for her. By 1998 she had returned to top form, becoming the first and only American to win the all-around title at the Goodwill Games. She qualified to the 2000 Olympic Trials, but was forced to withdraw with a knee injury. After a five-year hiatus from elite gymnastics, Dominique announced a return to competition in 2005. However, injury kept her from competing in the '05 Nationals. She intends to make a 2006 comeback and plans to compete difficult skills on the floor and vault.