Olympic Gymnast Dominique Moceanu: "My Parents Put My Secret, Handicapped Sister Up for Adoption"
Interview Airs Friday On 20/20
It takes a lot to make Olympic gold medalist Dominique Miceanu lose her balance. But one recent revelation knocked her flat: Moceanu has discovered her parents put up for adoption a secret sister who had no legs.
Moceanu, who wowed the world as part of the Magnificent Seven American women's gymnastic team in the late '90s, reveals in a new interview on ABC's 20/20 that her parents put up her newborn sister for adoption when Dominique was just six years-old.
"It was the biggest bombshell of my life," Moceanu says. "I had this sister that was born who was given up for adoption, and I never knew it."
Moceanu, who is now 30, says she received a letter from the woman about five years ago, and after she confronted her parents they confessed the entire ordeal.
Dominique's parents, Dimitry and Camelia Moceanu, had moved from their native Romania in the '80s. When the young girl was born (the day after Dominique's sixth birthday) her parents were forced to give her up for adoption because they could not afford the baby's medical problems.
Dominique says she hangs out with her sister all the time now.
Also in the interview, Moceanu details her struggle to make it to the top of the gymnastics world, including the moment when she could not celebrate her gold medal performance because she knew her father would berate her for a sub-par performance.
"I have this gold medal around my neck. I wanted to take it off. I was devastated. It was heartbreaking," she says.
Moceanu also reveals the abuse she suffered at the hands of her famous coaches, Martha and Bela Karolyi.
"I never, ever objected to hard work," Moceanu says. "What I objected to was Martha grabbing me by the neck, shoving my face into the phone and telling me to call my parents when I hurt my neck in practice."
"I objected to being told to jump onto a scale in front of the 1995 world championship team, of being forced to do 16 uneven bars routines in a row by Martha. I was completely embarrassed by Bela in front of the 2000 national training team at camp. He completely belittled me and my weight, singled me out and made me feel very small. It was unfair treatment. Martha's logic is so false but no one would listen to a 14-year-old. I was never allowed to speak out."
Catch the interview tonight at 10 pm EST on ABC.