Where is Dominique Moceanu now? Magnificent Seven gymnast ‘starved and fat-shamed’ by coaches

Moceanu, as a 14-year-old, was a part of the gold-winning Magnificent Seven at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta


                            Where is Dominique Moceanu now? Magnificent Seven gymnast ‘starved and fat-shamed’ by coaches
Dominique Moceanu as a 14-year-old girl was a part of the gold-winning Magnificent Seven (Instagram/ dominiquemoceanu and Getty Images/ Mike Powell /Allsport)

An Olympic gymnast has accused Team USA coaches of fat-shaming her and also starving her as a teen. Dominique Moceanu has explained the abuse she suffered and the effect of it on her, years after she helped her team to win gold at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time, she was a 14-year-old girl and was a part of the gold-winning Magnificent Seven.

Moceanu told DailyMail.com, “Our coaches told us, ‘Don’t eat, you're fat.’ That's not what you tell a prepubescent teen. It's so damaging. I was told to starve myself by my coaches, and any time I performed poorly, they said it was because I was fat. I would sit with my coaches at dinner and I couldn't even put my hands on any bread, I couldn't ask for any more food, and I couldn't eat what was actually in front of me.”

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21 July 1996: Dominique Moceanu of the USA in action during the women''s team compulsories at the Georgia Dome at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport

What is Dominique Moceanu doing now?

The 39-year-old retired Ohio-based gymnast is now the owner of a gymnastics training center. She is also the spokesperson for a nutrition company - Purely Inspired. After Olympian Simone Biles withdrew her name from five event finals in Tokyo, citing mental health reasons, Moceanu showed her support for her. She also shared an old video of her at the 1996 Olympics on Instagram that showed her crashing onto her head as she tripped over during the balance beam final.

23 Jul 1996: Dominique Moceanu of the USA leaps during the Women's Beam event at the Georgia Dome in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

In the caption, the mother-of-two wrote: “I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later @simonebiles 🤍 decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—“a say” I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.” The worrying video attracted a lot of attention and support from the people on the internet. A user commented below it, “I watched this THIS morning. Someone posted the entire video on YouTube and I remember watching you 25 years ago. I always wondered if you were ok, you just carried on like a soldier with so much grace. Not even an ‘ouch’. How did you do it?” Another supporter wrote, “Ugh. Seeing Bela Karolyi wave his arm and be so dismissively ‘supportive’ before you started turns my stomach.”



 

According to reports, Moceanu is one of the first women athletes who openly spoke about the mistreatment they endured at the hands of former Team USA head coaches - Bela and Marta Karolyi. Over a decade ago, she also gave an interview to HBO, where she claimed to suffer from several injuries due to unnecessary physical stress. Though supportive messages poured in at the time, the then-president of United States of America Gymnastics (USAG) Steve Penny discredited her issues. Penny had protected the Karolyis and said, “The Karolyis have contributed a great deal to the success of our athletes over the years and continue to do so.”



 

Not just that, the organization had also accused Moceanu of lying for attention and money. “I felt so alone and defeated [because] there was nobody [else] coming to do the interview and do what it takes. It was emotionally exhausting. [USA Gymnastics] blacklisted me, hurt my image, my reputation,” she said, before adding: “It’s not just stuff that was made up, people tried to make me look crazy, like I was making it up. That's not the case. It was very damaging. [USAG] hurt me in ways I can't even describe. They said I was lying. Now [people] know that I wasn't. It's time for them to stop brushing everything under the rug.”

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