Posted by: sportsandbeans | July 11, 2006

Marry Me, Moceanu =)


Migs ID by Migs

This next sports article is not an ode of sorts to someone spectacular just because she’s a head-turner. No, no, I’m not shallow in that way. Rather, this is a piece that talks about one of a gymnast who, over the last decade or so, has made quite an impact on the face of US Gymnastics as we know it.

I first saw Dominique Moceanu on the padded floor in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. At the time, she was fourteen, and competed alongside more bemedalled teammates in Shannon Miller and Dominique Dawes. Her junior status and on the US Olympic team was merely a fascade for her already sparkling resume. Before the 1996 Olympics, Moceanu had already competed in the Pan American Games, the US National Championships, and the US Classic. As I did my science project in front of the television during a rainy Saturday night in front of the TV, I immediately felt that Domi possessed a grace about her that, well, entranced me, as it did millions who watched on global television.

Along with another reknowned colleague in Kerri Strug, Moceanu was trained in Houston, Texas by gymnastics gurus Bela and Marta Karolyi (she was one of the last gymnasts to be trained by the Karolyis, and she was a member of the “Magnificent 7” women’s gymnastics squad sent to the 1996 Olympics). Unlike Strug though, notoriety outside the sports world seemingly came more naturally to her because of her charm that transcended the girl in the leitard. In 1995, she was featured in Vanity Fair magazine (her unique looks can be traced back to Romanian roots), and had an autobiography entitled, “Dominique Moceanu: An American Champion”, under her belt- not too shabby for someone barely into her teenage years (her autobiography made it to as high as number seven on the New York Times Bestseller List).

After suffering a slew of injuries that have kept her from participating in Olympic Games after Atlanta, and from competitive gymnastics for 6 years or so, Domi announced her plans to return to competitive gymnastics this year (her comeback run begins at the US Classic in Kansas City on July 29th). I’m no gymnastics expert, but at a banged up 24, I think Moceanu is past her prime. Then again, we’ve seen a lot of inspiring comebacks by sporting veterans over the years (Carl Lewis, Michael Jordan), so, this one may very well be one that can be jotted down along that same narrative path. Furthermore, Moceanu was embroiled in a heated legal battle with her parents in the late nineties over a lawsuit she filed, one which claimed that the money she had ammassed since she began doing competitive gymnastics at age 10 had been needlessly squandered by her kin. She eventually won the said case, although she was disallowed from withdrawing money from her trust fund until age 35.

Okay, so Domi is gymnast, something I’ll never be. Okay, so Domi is a gold medalist, something I’ll probably never be either. Apart from the typical sensory points of focus, though, what makes Dominique Helena Moceanu stand out so much from amongst her peers is the fact that her persona in the public eye is one that is nestled within a plane of relevance, a semblance of relatability which screams of being a typical celebrity, but at the same time, yawps of being a typical, very vulnerable, young girl. Perhaps that’s part of her appeal- her two-prong public persona which is honest and not of any doubt, mind you. Sometimes, being showered with the glitter of celebrity can make one, very evidently, lose track of what it is to be clad in black and white, to be powered only by pure will and passion and not pomp and circumstance.

So yes, marry me, Moceanu, not because I’m a fickle, bone-headed admirer, but because I truly believe that what you’ve done, both the subtle and overtly impactful, has elevated the overall quality of gymnastics and sports as a whole. I love the way you’ve persevered against the odds as an athlete through your career of fourteen years or so, and I have utmost respect for the fact that you’ve found a way to make a vocation out of “inspiration via victory”, whilst others have harnessed winning as a milking cow specifically in the name of pure adjulation.

Come to think of it, I shouldn’t even have to ask for your hand at all. Others like me need not do so either. Why you ask? Because Domi, you, and other competitors whom we’ve seen in the past with spirits like yours, have already stolen our hearts, and our awakened our capacity to “become”, just by you “doing”, and by us “looking”, with faculties of reflection, and consequently, action, gripped by an absolutely sublime form of enchantment. =)



  1. hello! 🙂
    Migs, hind ka papatulan ni moceanu. hehehe :p can you feature an article about badminton para makarelate naman ako? =)
    By the way, sports and beans is so cool!

  2. Nice webpage, lovely, coolest design.

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